Food as a Lifestyle: Q&A with Celebrity Chef Jason Santos

Jason Santos

Celebrity Chef and restaurant owner, Jason Santos, is familiar to TV fans as the chef with the electric blue hair from Gordon Ramsey’s hit TV show Hell’s Kitchen, and his frequent appearances on CBS’ The Talk. His cuisine seamlessly combines Asian, French and traditional American flavors, often incorporating molecular gastronomy techniques to create dazzling visual and textural twists and presentations that are as whimsical as they are inventive.

When did cooking become your passion? Did you know right away that this is what you wanted to do in life?
I have always been interested in cooking as far as I can remember, but I realized I wanted this as a career when I was in junior high school and I had to take home economics class. I had to sew my way to the cooking portion of the class.
What was it like being on Hell's Kitchen?

When it was good it was really good (i.e. flying around in private jets, visiting vineyards, hanging out with Gordon) but when it was bad, it was really bad (i.e. getting woken up by a marching band, having to clean up trash as a punishment or just working an 18 hour day).
Is food just food to you? Or do you view it as something more, like a form of language or expression?

Food is my life; it is as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Being a chef is a lifestyle, not just a job.

Abby Lane Food & Spirits

Abby Lane - 255 Tremont St. in Boston

You're executive chef at your own restaurants, Abby Lane Food & Spirits and Back Bay Harry’s, two of Boston’s hottest dining destinations. Is there anything unique about the Boston restaurant scene?

I think Boston has a very close and supportive restaurant community. Chefs come together more often than not to help raise awareness, participate in charitable work or just simply support each other’s businesses.

I’m looking forward to the opening of my third restaurant, Buttermilk & Bourbon, in October 2016 located in the back bay of Boston.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?

It's a tie between giving back to my community or just making people happy. It could be doing a demo for a great cause or someone giving me an opportunity and making them proud of their decision or just simply watching someone enjoy my food.

Any advice to young chefs out there?

Work hard & don't take the easy way out. The money and perks will come but you need to learn the craft first and that is not glamorous I assure you. But trust me hard work always pays off in the end, you might even get your face on!