Chris Santos

Beauty & Essex | Chopped

Chef Chris Santos has over twenty years of experience honing his culinary craft as an Executive Chef in New York City’s hottest restaurants. From the cult classic Wyanoka, which Sam Sifton described as “sexy…and outrageously flavorful,” to the famed Time Café and award-wining Latin restaurant, Suba, Santos’ distinctive career has been synonymous with unparalleled success.

In 2005, Santos introduced the world to his unique brand of communal dining with his debut restaurant, The Stanton Social. Inspired by Santos’ own world travels, The Stanton Social’s multi-cultural menu, designed for sharing, made for experiential dining with cuisine as delicious as it was entertaining. 

The success of The Stanton Social had The New York Times once again praising Santos’ imagination and talent for the innovative way he tweaks traditional classics with an “infectious playfulness.” In 2007, he was named Star Chefs Rising Star Chef and began developing a sister-restaurant to his first smash hit. 

In December of 2010, Chris welcomed Beauty & Essex to the Lower East Side. With an operational pawnshop entrance, the breathtaking design transforms the turn-of-the-century townhouse into a seductive, bi-level restaurant and lounge with a twenty-foot skylight and dramatic crystal chandeliers. The bigger space commands a larger menu and Santos accessorizes his signature share plates with bountiful Raw Bar offerings, creative twists on bruschetta cleverly named “Jewels on Toast,” and a selection of prime meats anchored by the show-stopping Dry Aged Bone-in Ribeye and feta-topped Beauty & Essex Lamb Burger. Since opening, Beauty & Essex was named OpenTable’s Hottest Restaurant in America in both 2012 and 2013, and both The Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex were recently included in a poll of the country’s Top 100 Restaurants based on feedback from 5 million users.

Throughout his career, Santos has appeared as guest chef on NBC’s "The Today Show", CBS’s "Early Show", "The Martha Stewart Show", "The Rachael Ray Show". Most famously, he is a resident judge on the Food Network’s most popular hit series Chopped and recently became a City Harvest board member. Santos has also worked as food stylist and consultant on movie sets, served as a Guest Chef at The White House and Camp David, and is currently working on his first cookbook.

Outside of his chef whites, Santos involvement in boxing was well documented in the book An Unforgiving Sport by Muhammad Ali’s biographer and he also pens his own articles for various boxing websites. His other loves, rock n’ roll and tattoos, have been featured in Inked and People Magazine amongst other publications and he is a staple in the local NYC rock ‘n roll scene.