These Longhorns Built Delicious Tamales out of Family Tradition

Clockwise from top left: Marcos Gonzalez, BS ’80; Judith “Judy” Gonzalez Hanley, BA ’78; Araceli “Sally” Gonzalez, BA ’78; Robert Gonzalez, BArch ’90; Herlinda “Linda” Gonzalez Seeliger, BS ’71; Nora Gonzalez Dodson, BFA ’73; Valerie Gonzalez, BSW ’78.

Texans love their tamales, especially at Christmas, and this Longhorn family is working to ensure the holiday meal can be enjoyed by everyone, year-round and nationwide.

Valerie Gonzalez, BSW ’78, grew up in the Mexican-American community of Laredo, learning from abuelas and tias sharing stories and chisme in the kitchen while corn husks soaked, hand-mixed masa was spread, and spices added to delicious pork-meat filling. All seven siblings—and three of their future spouses—in the Gonzalez family would go on to graduate from The University of Texas at Austin.

In 1980, Gonzalez and her then-husband used a $500 dollar investment to open their first Delicious Tamales location in San Antonio. It has since grown into a multimillion-dollar corporation with six locations across San Antonio, two in Austin, and an online marketplace where 14 flavors of tamales and other popular Mexican food dishes are sold.

Valerie acquired sole ownership in 2006, and her daughter Herlinda Lopez-Wood became her business partner and co-president. The mother-daughter duo oversees a 30,000 square-foot kitchen where an average of 70 dozen tamales are produced using traditional methods every 2 minutes, and more than 3.4 million tamales are sold per year.

Herlinda and Valerie.

The family believes that with success comes the responsibility of reaching back to help others to better themselves. Valerie created and continues to award the Delicious Inc. Scholarship Fund to a deserving graduate of Laredo Martin High School, her alma mater. She and Herlinda hope to expand the educational opportunities for a first-generation entrepreneur with a college scholarship to be established soon.

You can enjoy Delicous Tamales at this year’s Fiesta celebration with the Texas Exes Hispanic Alumni Network on Oct. 27, 2023, from 6–10 p.m. More details about the event can be found here.


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