On January 17, 1985, Plinio Garcia Jr.
father decided it was time to blend herbs and spices together to create some of the world's finest spices and seasonings.
They decided to call the company Chef Merito
, which means "The little authentic chef.
Today, after 20 years of business, Chef Merito
is a rapidly growing multi-million dollar company.
Plinio J. Garcia & Chef Merito History
Plinio Jorge Garcia Jr received a scholarship to attend Notre Dame High School, in Sherman Oaks, California.
graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 1978.
in 1978, double-majoring in Economics and Latin American Studies, and graduating with honors in 1982.
took part in the Stanford
Overseas Program, traveling to Sao Paulo, Brazil to study the ways of the corporate world.
work with the Brazilian grocery and food business gave birth to a dawning desire to start his
He continued his studies at the University of Sao Paulo and traveled throughout South America.
Garcia went on to work for the Brazil-California Trade Association from 1982 to 1984, helping to coordinate export-import seminars with major financial institutions and Eximbank.
In 1985 he began an MBA program at Pepperdine University, which he completed in 1987.
By that time, all the ingredients had come together for a successful business: Garcia's background in economics, business and Latin American studies, his
knowledge of Brazilian food companies, and his
father's experience with food spice-blend formulations.
So in 1985 Garcia and his father launched Chef Merito, creating seasonings to help consumers prepare Mexican and other Latin American dishes faster and easier.
Garcia remains an active member of the UCLA Alumni Association and the school's Latino Alumni Association, holding several chairmanships and administrative positions.
In 2001, Garcia was appointed to UCLA's University Board of Governors.
has set up a permanent 4-year scholarship for UCLA students, and has established a $1,000 Cuban-American Teacher Scholarship for first-year college students.
In 1994 Garcia
responded to severe L.A. County budget cuts by "adopting" South Venice Beach, launching a volunteer clean-up program.
and Chef Merito
also donate to the Westside Magnet School
in Marina Del Rey/Venice area, which participates in the clean-up.
Garcia created and is president of the Marina Peninsula Neighborhood Association, a resident organization which tries to keep a balance between development and the sensitive environment along the coast of Los Angeles.