Expo Spotlight: Nacho Aguirre
Monday Keynote - Demo Stage
Full Name: Ignacio “Nacho” Aguirre
Title: Baker & Chocolatier
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your history as a baker and chocolatier.
Born in Torreon, Mexico, I came to U.S. 12 years ago and am happily married with five fabulous kids. My wife come from very big families where family is everything and good food is just a way of life, so you can imagine every family reunion topped 40 guests! It’s like a huge event every single week.
My love for good food started with my Grandma, and she always made sure to have everyone’s favorite dish with a story attached. I was always drawn to hear her stories and eat the food, taking in mind the history and the folklore involved in it.
When I met my future wife that also came from the same background...... it was love at first bite! She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France and I married the best chef.
My own education was in computer systems and combined with my love for food gave me the opportunity to invest in food industry related businesses. In that way, I’ve always been involved one way or another to the food industry.
Together, we opened Delice Bakery back in 1999, so I’ve been doing this for a while now. By 2020 we decided to move to San Antonio where we started a second location.
Susana got selected to be a contestant on the Food Network Spring Baking Championship in the spring of 2016, and she made it all the way to the Final 3. I competed in the same show in 2018 and I was fortunate enough to win the championship.
Since our success on Food Network, we’ve been very fortunate in our business ventures in San Antonio, and I’ve been invited to be a judge on few baking shows since.
What projects have you been working on lately?
I’m always working daily in our bakery. There are a few surprises coming later this year that I can’t share about them just yet, but it is going to be fun.
What are you looking forward to most at the 2021 Mid-America Restaurant Expo?
I am so looking forward to this event, particularly in this year after what our industry been through with the pandemic. I’ve always seen events as opportunities to adapt and do better, so I can’t wait to see firsthand what our amazing industry has for us this year.
Have you ever presented or participated in a baking demo at a tradeshow before, and what was that experience like?
I have not, but I’m beyond excited to do it. I have made quite a few appearances in live and online demos but this will be my first tradeshow on such important event. I’m a little nervous but mostly excited.
What’s it like for you to bake for a live audience while also educating them?
The idea of sharing my life work, passion, stories and motivation to do what I do, honestly is the best experience ever, every time.
Any sneak peek as to what you’ll share with Expo attendees in November?
I want to show a little bit about my heritage and how trends and techniques are now more focused on a whole other level of flavor, but also feelings, experiences and memories. Of course, look out for something sweet but yet spicy and with a Latin twist. Cannot wait!
How has being on the Food Network changed your career in the industry?
Wow, if you had asked me ten years ago where I would see myself now, never in my wildest dreams I had imagined that I will become a Food Network judge. It’s been amazing knowing so many people and personalities that are genuinely in love with food and with what they do. It’s also surprisingly rewarding knowing that somehow people that watch me on TV share the same passions and how I’m able to motivate them to get in to baking and cooking.
How has your Mexican background and heritage influenced your approach to baking and working with chocolate?
I believe my heritage has been present in all I do in life, either in business, daily life and cooking or baking. We are fighters that no matter what and we try to overcome everything. We’re fun, passionate, adventurous and hardworking, and we have our family values very rooted in us. Also, the region in Mexico where I’m from has a lot of influence from Spain, Lebanon, Italy and France, so for generations, the cooking techniques have been adapted locally to the like and taste of our generation. It’s fascinating taking all this evolution on cooking/baking and try to make it my own.
What’s something about you that surprise people?
I majored in Computer Science and was a full time Insurance Agent when I won the Spring Baking Championship. Also, I love to sing and dance while baking/cooking!
What’s something inspiring for you this past year that you'd like to share with Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) members, which are restaurant and foodservice owners and operators in the industry?
Our industry is composed of passionate and dedicated people. It is amazing and truly inspiring what we all accomplished during this past year, regardless of the circumstances. Our industry came through and we were able to provide food, comfort and memories of better times to the millions of people that were on lock down, with our food or sweets. We tried with all our strength and creativity to keep working and keep serving our customers and friends. We all deserve to feel like heroes. Also, my deepest appreciation and respect to all of those who did not make it, but I’m sure that they will soon be up on their feet again serving and following their passion.
What’s your favorite thing to bake? What’s your favorite thing to eat?
I really like making French macarons or anything meringue related. My all-time favorite cake is Tres Leches. Paella comes always on high in my list.