Raised on a farm in the Midwest, Executive Chef John Brand cultivated a passion for locally sourced, fresh ingredients that he applies to the Mokara Hotel and Spa and Ostra restaurant and companion hotel Omni La Mansión del Rio’s Las Canarias, both located on the world-renowned River Walk in San Antonio, Texas.
Brand brings more than a dozen years of experience at luxury properties to Las Canarias and Ostra , to include time as chef de cuisine at Charles Court restaurant at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. He refined his gastronomical talents as executive chef at Fossett’s at Keswick Hall in Keswick, Virginia, and as executive sous chef at the Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado. Prior to that, Brand was executive sous chef at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona, and maintained several positions at the Hyatt Regency Beaver Creek Resort and Spa in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Chef Brand’s vision for Las Canarias introduces a broader variety of locally sourced produce and meats to the menu. Brand incorporates vibrant, regional ingredients, including Native American greens and products such as quinoa that were once prevalent in the South Texas region.
A wholesome “lifestyle cuisine” approach is part and parcel to the menu at Ostra, which Brand prefers to a “spa cuisine” approach. The use of fish raised and harvested in sustainable circumstances is emphasized at the seafood-focused restaurant. Brand’s enthusiasm for the rich history and vibrant culinary scene of San Antonio is captured in his menus at Ostra and Las Canarias, continuing to delight regulars as well as new guests.