Co-Owner & Executive Chef, Hugo's, Backstreet Cafe & Caracol
Hugo Ortega immigrated from Mexico to Houston in 1984 and began work in the restaurant business as a dishwasher and bus boy at Backstreet Cafe. He moved to the kitchen, graduated from culinary school and is now its executive chef and owner. In 2002, to celebrate the food of his homeland, he opened Hugo’s, which has named a "Top Table" by Bon Appetit and one of the "Restaurants We Love" by Gourmet. Caracol, a Coastal Mexican Kitchen, opened in December 2013 and was immediately named one of the best restaurant openings of 2013 by noted critic Alison Cook. Ortega is a four-time finalist for James Beard Foundation Awards.