Rising Star Artisan Miguel Vidal of Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ - Biography

Austin, TX

November 2017

Born into a big San Antonio family where nobody needed an excuse to throw a backyard party, Miguel Vidal grew up eating his grandmother’s fresh tortillas piled high with his dad’s smoky barbacoa.

Vidal’s first industry job was as a dishwasher at local pizza joint Bambino’s, where he also became a valet. His real focus was on breaking into the realm of professional soccer. He had plans to fulfill that dream in a European league, but before he made it to Greece, Vidal blew out his knee. The injury closed one door but opened another that would eventually lead back to the kitchen.
After graduating from college and moving to Miami, Vidal became enamored with restaurants and how they encapsulated the city’s cultural diversity. He put in time at a local fish restaurant before returning to Texas to work for his cousin at Ranch 616. As a 25-year-old general manager, Vidal was in charge of everything from catering to cooking––and he knew he could do it on his own.
Vidal wanted to create a place that reminded him of the flavors of his childhood home, just in Austin. What began as a trailer transformed into the Mexican-American barbecue mecca Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. Now with a smokehouse and catering operation, Vidal, as owner and pitmaster, is serving more than 400 pounds of brisket and 200 pounds of pork a day––folded inside warm, flour tortillas.