Owner, Fonda San Miguel, Austin, TX
Culinary Arts, 1991
Tom Gilliland’s lifelong love of Mexican cuisine began in 1967, when he went to Mexico as an exchange student from the University of Texas-Austin law school. Before founding Fonda San Miguel in 1975, he had launched San Angel Restaurant in Houston, which he says were the first restaurants in Texas to “offer the traditional and authentic regional cuisines of Mexico.” In 1997, Fonda San Miguel won a Restaurants & Institutions Ivy Award for Excellence in Food Service. While his longtime chef Miguel Ravago takes care of the kitchen, Gilliland hires and manages the front-of-the-house staff and directs the interior design and art collection of the restaurant. Gilliland and Ravago's first book together, Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years of Food and Art, received an International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Cookbook Award in 2006.