Austin has lost a culinary legend. Miguel Ravago, chef and co-founder of Fonda San Miguel, passed away at age 72 on Saturday, June 24, after a brief battle with lung cancer, the restaurant announced.
Born in January 1945 in Phoenix, Ravago learned authentic Mexican cooking from his family at a very young age, perfecting styles from Veracruz and Sonora. Ravago and longtime business partner Tom Gilliland began their journey as restaurateurs in 1972 with San Angel Inn in Houston, which operated for several years. The duo then opened Fonda San Miguel in 1975, one of the first establishments in Austin — and Texas — to focus on interior Mexican cuisine.
"Ravago will be terribly missed by those who knew him. At the same time, he will be remembered by the thousands of customers who have dined on the marvelous dishes he created for one of the most significant restaurants in Texas," reads a statement.
Chief accomplishments during his decades-long career included cooking at the James Beard House in New York and publishing two cookbooks, Cocina de la Familia and Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years of Food and Art.
Later in life, Ravago lived in Spain and England with his spouse, Phillipe Mercier. But he "maintained his role at Fonda San Miguel with regular visits back to Austin and daily interaction with the Fonda kitchen and his Fonda family," states a release.
The public is invited to a celebration honoring Ravago on July 2 at 5:30 pm at Fonda San Miguel, following the restaurant's regular Sunday brunch service.