Minibar by José Andrés Has Lost Its Head Chef (Updated)

ThinkFoodGroup vet Jorge Hernández has moved on after a year-plus at the helm.

Former ThinkFoodGroup creative director Ruben Garcia (right) is part of a new food hall project. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Minibar head chef Jorge Hernández has moved on from the modernist tasting room after a year and a half at the helm. His last night of service was New Year’s Eve.

Hernández, a ThinkFoodGroup veteran who cooked at the original Minibar at Cafe Atlantico, came to the current iteration from Qui in his native Texas. Under his direction, the tasting room maintained a second Michelin star and earned the number one slot on Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurant list for 2019.

ThinkFoodGroup issued the following statement:

“We’re so grateful to Jorge for everything he brought to minibar as head chef. Our R&D team will continue to oversee new menu development while we look for a new chef to continue to move us forward.”

Hernández is heading back to his hometown of San Antonio to take a position as the culinary director for The Mighty Union hospitality group and helm their forthcoming restaurant in the Veramendi House hotel. 

The impetus of moving was the chance to take everything I learned here and apply it to my permanent home,” says Hernández. “It’s definitely bittersweet leaving.”

*This story has been updated from an earlier version with comment from Hernández.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.