HISTORY

Chef Polo was born and raised in the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco, Mexico where he began his hospitality career at the age of 13. He aspired to perfect his culinary talent as he was promoted from dishwasher to head waiter, cook, chef’s assistant and executive chef in prestigious hotels including Camino Real and Fiesta Americana. 

 

During a brief stint in the United States in 1990, he anticipated improving his cooking skills; however, permanently relocated due to the undeniable appeal of Houston’s restaurant industry. Although the language barrier forced him to revert to working as a kitchenhand, a favorable opportunity was extended by Post Oak Grill - the most prominent five-star restaurant in the Tanglewood neighborhood.

Efforts came to fruition a year later with his promotion to chef and kitchen manager. In 2002, Chef Polo purchased the restaurant with the help of a Mexican businessman residing in Houston. Perseverance, long hours and personal sacrifice paid off when he obtained exclusive ownership in 2004. His enterprising spirit led to launching other concepts featuring New American Cuisine, including fine dining at Polo’s Signature.

Delivering personal attention to customers and providing an unparalleled dining experience to the most demanding palates is what sets Chef Polo apart from the competition. His charisma, drive and sumptuous dishes create an atmosphere that attracts a diverse group of dignitaries and high-profile clientele including President Bush; Secretary of State, James Baker; Hall of Fame athlete, Elvin Hayes and corporate executives, investment bankers, petrochemical leaders and other professionals. ​

COMMUNITY

In addition to serving the community and increasing his business footprint, Chef Polo supports Houston-area organizations and nonprofits including:

Our Lady of the Lake University; River Oaks Elementary; St. Michael's Catholic School; years of fundraising, planning and development of the Casa de Esperanza neighborhood near the Medical Center; 2006 Taste of the Nation – No Kid Hungry benefiting Houston Food Bank, End Hunger Network, Center for Public Policy Priorities and Regional East Texas Food Bank.

 

Other charities encompass Dress for Success; Houston Grand Opera; Theater Under the Stars; The Liver Foundation; Mental Health Association; Men of Style 2007 benefiting Texas Children’s Hospital; The Sons of the Republic of Texas; West University Little League; American Diabetes Association; Child Advocates; Susan's Rally; CenterPoint Energy; Jackson State University; Houston Museum of Natural Science; Legacy Men of Style 2009 benefiting Texas Children’s Hospital; Career and Recovery Resources Inc.; Texas Right to Life; United Way of Greater Houston; and Childhood Cancer Family Alliance.

 

Chef Polo also supports Taste of Tejas benefiting MDA Summer Camp; The 100 Club; Houston Food Bank; Escape Family Resource Center; Galleria Chamber of Commerce; Lazarus House; Collier's Charity Golf Tournament; St. Francis Episcopal Day School; Memorial Hermann Foundation; Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital; St. Martin's Episcopal Church; Houston A&M Club; Latino Learning Center; Joint Service Academy; United States Naval Academy; the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and CenterPoint Energy.

When Houston suffered from flooding and wind damage from Hurricane Rita in September 2005, Chef Polo provided shelter and food to his employees and their families as many were unable to evacuate. Because Post Oak Grill was one of few restaurants open, at the request of CenterPoint Energy, meals were prepared three times daily for seven consecutive days for 1,200 emergency crews and people working round-the-clock. Chef Polo and staff proudly responded to the call to prepare and serve meals to first responders and emergency workers again in August 2017 when Hurricane Harvey caused catastrophic flooding in the Houston metropolitan area.

ACCOLADES

  • Hospitality 500 Achievement Award

  • The International Wine & Food Society Certificate of Excellence

  • ABC 13 Marvin Zindler Award: November 1, 2002

  • General Consulate of Mexico recognizes collaborative efforts in celebrating the 194th anniversary of Mexican Independence: September 16, 2004

  • Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recognizes Hispanic Emerging Business of the Year: November 17, 2005

  • Houston SBA Person of the Year for providing much needed jobs to minorities, and representing the State of Texas at the White House when receiving 2006 United States SBA Texas Person of the Year Award

  • U of H Law Center “2007 Arrival Award” recipient, highlighting achievements of successful immigrants and a dinner benefiting the mission of UH Law Center’s Immigration Clinic: August 28, 2007

  • State of Texas HUB Certification: August 8, 2008

  • Houston Community College - Hispanic Legacy Award Recipient acknowledgement from United States Senator, John Cornyn: November 21, 2008  

  • State of Texas Flavors of Passion Award: May 21, 2009

  • Mexican Restaurant Association recognizes accomplishments and State of Texas Flavors of Passion Award: July 25,2009

  • Houston Minority Business Council Certification: September 30, 2009

  • Accolades from the Mexican Secretary of National Defense: May 13, 2016

  • City of Houston recognizes leadership, philanthropy and passion for helping local institutions: June 15, 2017

  • Latino Learning Center, Humanitarian Award Recipient: July 2017

 

FEATURED

In addition to being featured in Zagat Survey; Houston Polo Club Paella Festival; H Texas Magazine “Best Chef”; City Life; Houston Press; Texas Monthly; “Houston is Cooking” Cookbook; KTRK, Channel 13 Cooking Show; KPRC, Channel 2 Cooking Show; My Table “Top 10 Wine List,” featured articles include:

  • Houston Business Journal: August 5, 2002 announces the sale of Post Oak Grill to veteran Chef Polo Becerra

  • Houston Chronicle: August 22, 2004 reflects how persistence pays off

  • GuestLife Houston, a prestigious hotel publication featuring premier locations for visitors, touts Post Oak Grill as an elegant and durable culinary landmark

  • Icon Gourmet

  • Chef Polo is recognized by NHPO, National Hispanic Organization for serving as a mentor to Hispanic entrepreneurs, while serving as VP of Cámara de Empresarios Latinos de Houston (CELH)

  • Houston Chronicle: February 16, 2006 “Let the Guys Cook” Fundraiser benefits Cancer Counseling

  • Four Oaks Place: May 2006 recognizes local, state SBA Awards and international achievements

  • El Financiero: June 16, 2006 shares risks taken by Chef Polo to establish and grow his business footprint

  • Poder y Negocios: November 28, 2006

  • Si Se Puede: December 2006 interview features Chef Polo’s recipe for success

  • Intown Houston: March 2007

  • Icon Magazine: April 2007

  • Houston-Intown: August 2007 for UNICEF support

  • Houston Chronicle: September 2007 Men of Style Houston fundraiser for Texas Children’s Hospital

  • Jewish Herald: October 2007 acknowledges achievements

  • Houston Chronicle: May 28, 2008, Chef Polo welcomes Victoria Rowell and guests for a high tea/champagne brunch and book signing for her best-seller, The Women Who Raised Me, a love letter to her six foster mothers

  • La Voz: April 8, 2009 Polo Becerra, his best ingredient: persistence

  • Houston Business Journal: August 7, 2009 honors Chef Polo for turning his culinary vision into reality

  • Familias Latinas 2009

  • La Opinión de Houston: December 4, 2016 Polo Becerra: Inspiring Success Story

  • SWOON Memorial: December 2017 recognizes Houston Restaurant Weeks’ fundraising efforts benefiting the Houston Food Bank

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