After graduating culinary school, Adrienne Hernandez went into healthcare at an acute care facility in Carrollton, Tx. It housed 60-70 patients regularly. There was only one chef per day that provided breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. That meant needing to prepare foods for every client according to their dietary needs for each meal. When a patient's diet card would come across the line, Adrienne had to have every individuals food ready to serve. No matter if the patients were diabetic, cardiac, gastric bypass, renal, vegan, vegetarian, or in their final stage of life and could only stomach a few sips of chicken noodle soup, Adrienne was ready to serve and give life.
Even as chaotic and busy as that facility was, she still wanted bigger opportunities to show her love and skill for Garde Manger. She moved on to a 150 bed hospital in Frisco that offered food stations, catering and patient care. Adrienne quickly learned that working there, she had to be versatile and trained in each and every food station, that was open to the public, then also be ready to jump on the line to serve patients their diverse foods. Thru that company, she had an opportunity to work at Wolfgang Puck's amazing restaurant 560 and many other fine eateries. Her talent Garde Manger was fired up in her again and decided to challenge herself even more and hit the restaurant scene and find her place.
Working 70-80 hour weeks was normal, tiring. It was a struggle every day to get out of bed because of full body pain. Doctor's did a lot of guessing to what was going with her for years. She began losing jobs because her ailment was unseen and not being understood in the workplace. After 9 years of being misdiagnosed, she finally found a doctor that informed her that she was battling LUPUS severely. But by that time, LUPUS had taken a toll on her body and mind and needed to find a way to make a living and heal.
Adrienne could no longer maintain the rigorous demands physically nor mentally of corporate food and began decorating cakes in Addison and found a new love. She carved a pumpkin to display there and was requested to start doing them more around the area. Eventually, she started to work with other chefs as they requested ice carvings, fruit and cheese displays, fruit carvings and cake displays for their events.
As her confidence and health bounced back, she decided to volunteer for a cancer event with a friend. She was hooked and started volunteering for cancer events, lupus events, spartan races and anything that she could give back to. One thing that Adrienne heard constantly was that food was an issue for the patient and care giver. She realized she could help people even more by using her healthcare and formal training and make suggestions in foods. She also started doing food demos and classes for patients and care givers. Eventually making the decision to become a wellness coach for Texas A&M. As a favor to a friend, Adrienne started to do food demos at elementary schools and discovered the necessary need and demand to reach more children.
Being a fighter, Adrienne decided to do food competitions to earn her Sous Chef certification under Texas Culinary Federation/American Culinary Federation and won gold and silver medals. Not stopping there, she went on to win Culinary Fight Club back to back years "chopped style" that qualified her spots for regional, national and world food competitions. Winning a food competition sponsored by a food bank, landed her in Richardson Living magazine and the Dallas Observer. Adrienne's big heart of giving earned her a nomination of Woman of the Year by Altrusa Richardson. Loving the challenge and creativity in food shows, Adrienne began appearing in The Taste of Dallas, The Morning After, Between the Buns, Diner en Blanc, and even being a creative contributor to EarthX . Adrienne was responsible for creating a food event that paired local chefs with locally sourced products. Over 100,000 people passed thru that event.
There's no doubt that change is inevitable, but Adrienne's hard work and love for creative good food and people will never change.