11 Things You Didn’t Know About Chris Santos

by in Shows, May 22nd, 2013

Chris SantosYou’ve seen them judge the competition, battle for the title of All-Stars champion and compete in a friendly game with colleagues on After Hours, but there’s a lot you don’t know about the judges of Chopped. Here’s your chance to get to know the nine people behind the Chopping Block.

Chris Santos is the chef behind the communal-concept restaurants Beauty & Essex and The Stanton Social, both on the Lower East Side in New York City. He previously served as the executive chef of the famed Time Cafe and the award-winning Latin restaurant Suba. Chris has also worked as a food stylist and consultant on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and the movie Hitch. When he’s not judging on Chopped or cooking in his restaurants, you’ll find Chris hunting down the city’s best new burger, which is his guilty pleasure!

What’s your Achilles’ heel ingredient, one that you hate to work with or encounter in someone else’s dish?
Chris Santos: I’d say shellfish. I’m allergic, so I rarely touch the stuff, so having to deal with live crabs or something like that would be challenging.

What dish or ingredient will we never catch you eating?
CS: Besides shellfish, bananas. I really dislike them.

What was your most memorable meal? What, where, who? Details, please.
CS: This is a cop-out, but I really can’t name one specifically. I can tell you walking the streets of Paris and/or Barcelona or anywhere in Italy and just eating wherever I found myself drawn to has always been the most memorable food experiences.

What’s your guilty pleasure food?
CS: Burgers. Always on the hunt for the city’s best new burger. And whenever I travel, I always have to seek out the best burger joints in town.

Is there one dish that you always order out and never make at home?
CS: Cassoulet. I wish I could make it at home but rarely have the time. And it’s such a good reason to go out for dinner in cold-weather months.

What kitchen tool can’t you live without?
CS: Simple as it sounds, a Microplane — so good for so many reasons. I like to “grate” red onions over it when making guacamole, which creates a juice to swirl in as opposed to chunks of onion that can dominate certain bites.

If you weren’t in food, what career would you have liked to have tried?
CS: Boxing, as a fighter first, then a trainer, which could still happen one day, I suppose. Obsessed with the sport.

What’s your favorite “food city” to visit?
CS: That’s hard because nothing beats NYC. But I love going on a scavenger hunt in L.A. for out-of-the-way authentic Mexican or old-school burger counters.

What’s your favorite late-night snack?
CS: Smartfood popcorn. I love that stuff. Or if I am in a sweet mood, Tate’s chocolate chip cookies.

What’s one must-have at your last supper?
CS: Chilaquiles, a traditional Mexican dish that is my favorite thing in the world.

Who’s your favorite person to cook with?
CS: My girlfriend.

Rapid fire: Think fast!
Ketchup or mustard? Mixed together equal parts with mayo.
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate all day.
Coffee or tea? Believe it or not, tea.
Burger or hot dog? Burger wins over almost anything.
Cream cheese or butter? Butter! Cream cheese is yummy, too, though. But you can do so much more with butter.
Soda or water? Water. Except when eating pizza. Then Diet Cherry Coke.
Sprinkles or jimmies? Jimmies

Get to Know the Rest of the Judges:
Aarón Sánchez
Alex Guarnaschelli
Amanda Freitag
Geoffrey Zakarian
Maneet Chauhan
Marc Murphy
Marcus Samuelsson
Scott Conant

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Comments (14)

  1. lou says:

    too cocky.lose him.

  2. T. Da Silva says:

    Why is Chris Santos so negative and mean? He never says anything positive or nice. It seems that's the way Che was treated when he was growing up. When he i judging Chopped i change the channel since I know what he'll say..horrible food, don't like, poor execution. Chopped should replace him. The bad cop judge act is tiring and predictable. Like Chris Santos I am of Portuguese heritage, but he acts like we are God gift to America. We are also the descendants of poor immigrant that came to the States to make a better life, be a bit humble you are an embarrassment to our community.

  3. Karen says:

    I knew he would say Jimmies!! EAST BAY MAN!!!! :-)

  4. Dawn says:

    My husband and I LOVE chopped but when Chris is on we both moan "oh No!" when we see him at the judges' table. He is rude, mean and thinks he owns the judges table by always talking first and poking his food with his fingers. Often we change the channel and delete the episode. We beg that you either tell him to tone it down or replace him. He really is uncouth.

  5. Tomi says:

    I love Chris Santos! I literally do a happy dance when I see he is a judge.

  6. Why is Chris Santos so negative and mean?

  7. JD it's JD says:

    He is the MOST NEGATIVE judge I've ever seen on TV! On Chopped, the other judges can at least offer a postive comment(s) before offering fair critques, he launches into negative (and the most pickest) b–ching on every dish presented. He LITERALLY makes the show unwatchable for me now and I change the channel when I see him as a judge.

  8. master says:

    Thanks for the great post! keep up the great work! :D

  9. MackieJ says:

    I always cringe when I see Chris as one of the judges. He's very negative. When ever anything is wrong with the dish he acts like they did that on purpose and seems to take it personally. Secretly I think he believes everyone is trying to poison or choke him. Who knows

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