Who invented chili powder used in Tex-Mex cuisine?

Local exhibit traces history of chili powder


For a special showcase during Hispanic Heritage Month, the San Antonio Public Library is partnering with the University of Texas at San Antonio Special Collections Library to provide the community with the history behind a local popular spice.

Gebhardt Mexican Foods Company is a German company founded in the 19th century. The company is most known for a product that quickly became a staple in Tex-Mex cuisine.

Chili powder is what many in San Antonio and South Texas residents use to add zest to their favorite dishes.

At Forest Hills Branch Library, three boxes of records were curated by Moira Mackay, public services and outreach archivist at UTSA Library Special Collections.  “It is part of that special blend that is Texas and Mexico culture," said Mackay.

“The Gebhardt Foods Exhibit traces the popularization of chili powder and Mexican convenience foods back to the Gebhardt Company, which actually had its roots right here in South Texas in New Braunfels," Victoria Villarreal, public information officer for the SAPL, said.

The exhibit provides a closer look into the company that goes beyond the labels and advertisements. The "Gebhardt Company Exhibit: The Name that Made Chili Powder” is free and can be viewed at Forest Hills Branch Library until the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. For more information on the exhibit you can visit the SAPL website, here.

For a look at the full original digital exhibit by UTSA Library Special Collections, click here.

About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.