Chris Santos

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Chris Santos
Executive Chef and Owner of the Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex, Chris Santos
Born (1971-03-26) March 26, 1971 (age 48)
EducationJohnson & Wales University
Culinary career

Chris Santos (born March 26, 1971) is a New York City chef and the executive chef and owner of The Stanton Social in New York's Lower East Side. In late 2010, he opened Beauty & Essex, a 250-seat, 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) restaurant in the heart of the lower east side. He is a recurring guest judge on the Food Network show Chopped, and is developing a show of his own.


Chris was born in 1971, in Fall River, Massachusetts, to a family of mixed heritage; his mother was of Irish descent and his father was of Portuguese descent. The youngest of 4 children, he has 2 brothers and 1 sister.[citation needed]

Professional career[edit]

At age 13, Santos's first job in the kitchen was washing pots at a small local restaurant in his hometown of Bristol, Rhode Island.[1] Eventually the chef moved him from the sink to the stove where he started learning how to cook in his early teens.[2]

He attended Bristol High School in Bristol, Rhode Island, graduating in 1989. Upon graduation, Santos studied culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, initially planning on attending for only two years. However, after the school awarded him a fellowship, he remained for two more years studying restaurant and hotel management, graduating in 1993 with honors.[3]

Even though Santos is appreciative of his culinary art training at Johnson & Wales, he considers himself to be more so a "self-taught" chef, never undergoing formal training under esteemed master chefs such as Jean Georges, Boulud, or Batali.[4]

After graduating from Johnson & Wales, Santos moved to New York City and in 1994, he was hired by the iconic Time Café, where he eventually would become executive chef at the age of 23, remaining until 1998.[5][6]

In 1999, he devoted the better part of a year visiting 14 countries and over 40 cities in Europe - which only furthered his passion and love for cooking.[3][4]

In 2000, Santos returned to NYC. One of his first kitchen jobs upon returning to the US was at Boston's French-inspired Cranebook Restaurant and Tearoom.[1] He pulled a brief stint as consulting chef for Rue 57. In November 2000, at the age of 29, Santos opened his first restaurant, Wyanoka, where he was partner and executive chef.[5][7] Wyanoka, a tiny "hidden gem" of a restaurant with just 27 seats, soon had a determined and loyal following and received glowing reviews from publications such as The New York Times, where he was favorably critiqued by current food critic Sam Sifton.

In 2003, he became executive chef at award-winning Latin restaurant Suba, and the following year he held the same position at Brooklyn, New York's Mojo. Simultaneously, he was co-owner/executive chef at The Mexican Sandwich Company in Brooklyn, New York.[5]

In January 2005, Santos opened his most successful restaurant at the time, The Stanton Social, with partners Rich Wolf and Peter Kane. This restaurant, located in New York City's Lower East Side, was very well received and has been praised in many celebrated magazines and newspapers such as Time Out New York,[8] New York Magazine,[9] and The New York Times.[10] The Stanton Social introduced the world to Santos' unique brand of experiential communal dining with its expansive menu of multi-cultural small plates. In 2007, he was named Star Chefs Rising Star Chef and began developing a sister-restaurant to his first smash hit.

In December 2010, Santos opened his largest restaurant to date, Beauty & Essex. The Lower East Side's historic M. Katz Furniture store was transformed into a dramatic bi-level restaurant and lounge with a two-story crystal chandelier and a twenty-foot skylight. Within months of opening, Beauty & Essex was voted the "Hottest Restaurant in the U.S." A staple destination for A-list clientele, the perennially booked restaurant has continued to propel Santos' career as an influential, celebrity chef.

In January 2016, Santos is scheduled to open Vandal, his third restaurant in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Santos is working on two new restaurants in 2016 which are slated for Los Angeles and Las Vegas. In addition, he is currently working on his first cookbook, and still hopes to launch a long-rumored line of tattoo-inspired chef apparel with celebrity Tattoo Artist Michelle Myles.[citation needed]

Media appearances[edit]




  1. ^ a b "About Santos". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011.
  2. ^ "Q & A With Chris Santos". Restaurant Girl. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Merwin, Hugh (December 12, 2007). "Chris Santos Gothamist Article". Gothamist. Archived from the original on January 29, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Spirer, Laren. "Meet & Eat: Chris Santos, Stanton Social". Serious Eats. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Chris Santos". The Chef and Restaurant Database. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  6. ^ "Chris Santos". Starchefs. August 2007. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  7. ^ Sifton, Sam (October 16, 2002). "$25 and Under; Italy Plus Asia Plus Latin America Plus Chocolate Fondue". The New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  8. ^ "Restaurants and Bars: The Stanton Social". Time Out New York. Archived from the original on December 17, 2009. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  9. ^ — Sarah Gold. "The Stanton Social". New York Magazine Restaurant Guide. New York Media. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  10. ^ Bruni, Frank (June 15, 2005). "Where the Menu Is a Highlights Tape". The New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  11. ^ "Santos on TV". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011.

External links[edit]