The Untold Truth Of Chris Santos

Celebrity chef Chris Santos works really hard. He's had an illustrious career in the culinary industry and juggles several roles: he's a well-known television personality, an entrepreneur, an owner of a music label, and more (per his website). He told Crush New York in an interview, "'s a grueling profession with hard work hours, time away from loved ones, and working on holidays and until late at night." His advice for other chefs is simple: passion is crucial if you wish to survive in the industry. Plus, he thinks that it's a good idea to work in a restaurant setup before receiving formal training in order to prepare for a career in the kitchen. 

Santos added that what he loves the most about owning a restaurant is "the freedom to be creative without borders." Plus, Santos knows exactly how lucky he has been in the industry. He doesn't take anything for granted. The chef explained, "it's incredibly satisfying to see the hard work you put in and that your staff puts in 365 days a year rewarded with a healthy, incredibly busy business day in and day out, and the customer loyalty we receive."

He was always drawn to cooking

According to the Food Network, Chris Santos was just 13 years old when he first entered the restaurant industry. He held down a part-time gig as a dishwasher in Bristol, Rhode Island. For Santos, watching the confident, talented chefs working around him was a game-changer and he thought to himself that he'd like to be a chef someday. Eventually, after studying the culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University, Santos worked in different parts of the world to get more comfortable with cooking different cuisines.

The chef had his moments of self-doubt, though. He told the Authority Magazine, "I do believe that cooking is my calling because building delicious and inviting dishes has always come easy me. Even though I've been in the arena for over 30 years, it took me time to realize this is what I was supposed to do." He added that once he was sure about his career choice, he gave it his all and never really slowed down.

He learned a lot by himself

While Chris Santos may have received formal training, he doesn't discount the fact that it took him a lot of effort to master cooking. He got candid in a conversation with Inked Magazine and said that it's a great idea to work under talented chefs at the beginning of your career. Santos revealed that he didn't have anyone to look up to. He said, "After culinary school, I basically stepped out into the world and got my first executive chef position, which I was completely ill equipped for. I had no idea what I was doing, so I learned on the job. That's what I mean by being self-taught, I never had a true chef mentor."

He also believes that traveling the world and really diving into other cuisines has made him appreciate food like never before. Santos said, "It was eye opening, whether it was walking down a street in France with a baguette or having an ahead-of-its-time molecular gastronomy dinner in Spain." He added that there are good and bad things about being a professional chef. While it's difficult to handle long hours and juggle other responsibilities, the industry also gives you a chance to bump into like-minded individuals and form meaningful relationships. Santos has found many lifelong friends in the industry. 

Santos truly appreciates communal dining

Santos highly values the simple experience of sitting down for a meal with others. He told Authority Magazine that "family style eating" is very important to him. "The concept of food bringing us together has shaped a lot of what I do; it's the universal language," he explained. Unfortunately, his extremely busy life can sometimes get in the way. Santos told Inked Magazine in 2019 that with his numerous responsibilities as an entrepreneur, it becomes extremely difficult to simply cook food and do what he loves to do. He has a lot on his plate all the time, which is why he looks forward to cooking for others whenever he gets a chance. He said, " cooking time becomes less and less every year, but the holidays bring my family and my fiancé's family together. I go to Kansas and cook this big, lavish dinner for 20 people. Everyone gets involved and that's my favorite time of the year." 

Music is important to him

Chris Santos is not just passionate about food; he's also a huge fan of music. He told Authority Magazine that he's been into music for a really long time. Santos said, "I love rock music and at 14 years old, I wanted to be a rock star drummer one day so I started working to save money for a car and a drum set." It took some time, but Santos made his dream come true in 2016 when he announced his record label, Blacklight Media, with co-founder, Brian Slagel (via Decibel).

One of his goals was to help underrated musicians get noticed. "This is going to sound like it's not organic and true or it's going to sound stupid, but I'm not really into this to make money... I'm really more into it to give bands that might not otherwise have the opportunity to be heard, a chance to be heard," he explained. Santos added that he does what he can to balance his work. Basically, he uses his time wisely and does things like listen to new music when he's on a flight. Santos was modest when he was asked how he takes care of all his responsibilities. He said, "All combined, I have like six different businesses, the restaurant business being just one of them so you just do find the time to do it."

He loves boxing

Chris Santos revealed that he's always wanted to build a boxing gym (via Observer). He is such a massive fan that he collects vintage boxing magazines and has a beautiful painting of Muhammad Ali inside his home. Santos said, "My grandfather was a pro fighter and I kind of missed my calling because I didn't start training until my 20s. A lot of my friends are world champion boxers and one of my investors is, too."

Santos squeezes in a boxing session into his schedule whenever he can. He told Furthermore, "I've never been the guy who can get on a treadmill and run or lift weights. I've been training as a fighter diligently for 14 years. To me boxing is very much like meditation — when I do it, I don't worry about anything else." But boxing has not always been easy on him: Santos said that he's been seriously injured several times. He mentioned that he's dealt with broken bones, a hairline fracture, broken ribs, and more. He jokingly added, "I'm still going to keep the same routine, but you've got to be smart. I can't be doing the Food Network with a black eye!" True that!