Hector Santiago

AGE: 41
HOMETOWN: San Juan, Puerto Rico – currently resides in Atlanta, Ga.
PROFESSION: Chef-Owner, Pura Vida ~ Latino Tapas Restaurant & Bar
CULINARY EDUCATION: AOS Culinary Arts, Culinary Institute of America
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Charcoal Grilled Skirt steak with a Vegetable Ceviche (celery, radishes, tomatoes and whatever else is available from local farmers)


Hector was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he started his cooking career working under chef Gioanna Huyke at the El San Juan Hotel & Casino. His cuisine combines classic and avante garde cooking techniques with Latin American ingredients and inspirations. Since opening his own restaurant, Pura Vida, in Atlanta, he has received many awards, including "Best Tapas or Small Plates" by numerous publications, being named a "Rising Star Chef" for Atlanta by StarChefs.com in 2007, and making it onto the "Long List" as a James Beard nominee for "Best Chef, Southeast” for the last two years (2008 & 2009). A constant student, Hector has done stages with chefs Jose Andres, Wylie Dufresne and Andoni L. Aduriz. His goal is to bring to light Latin American products, culture and cuisine. He is currently working on a project on hot peppers, and their new and different culinary uses like "taming the heat.”

VIDEO: Get to Know Hector