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Hector Santiago fears his turn on “Top Chef” will diminish his career

Watch the morning-after interview where Hector describes his goals in going on the show, his differences with the judges and his feelings about the other contestants. It is interesting from an Atlantan’s perspective — we know Hector is the most highly lauded chef of the three locally but other viewers see only the contest.

19 comments Add your comment

Duluth, GA

September 10th, 2009
1:40 pm

Hector, keep your head up. The people who are familiar with your food could care less what the judges think. Honestly, I love the way you cook. IMO, you are the best chef representing Atlanta. A contest can only tell so much (meaning not a lot). Keep doing what you are doing and do not become discourage.


September 10th, 2009
1:46 pm

Hector, I ate at your restaurant for the first time last week, and I was absolutely floored. You are a wonderful chef and your food is delicious. Thank you!


September 10th, 2009
2:35 pm

I agree with the above commenter – Pura Vida is one of my favorite restaurants in Atlanta. I think Hector is an amazing chef. :-)


September 10th, 2009
2:44 pm

Chef, you have nothing to worry about!


September 10th, 2009
2:47 pm

Hector for a long time now you have consistently been the best chef of Latin cuisine in Atlanta. It’s obvious to me and I’m sure a lot of people that Top Chef is not all about being the best chef. I’m sure all of your many fans will see beyond what they showed us on tv.


September 10th, 2009
2:52 pm

You do make your customers proud – every time one of your tapas comes to the table. Your care and concern for quality food are far better shown at Pura Vida than on a cooking game show. Your individual style and panache are central hallmarks of your culinary art so keep on frying those steaks and letting your meat rest until you are happy with it and don’t let anyone who would actually advertise diet Coke be the definitive judge of your talent. See you at Pura Vida!

John Kessler

September 10th, 2009
5:59 pm

I agree. As Hector knows well, Pura Vida is one of my favorites in Atlanta. When my wife and I get to steal away from the kids for dinner out at the last moment, we more often than not choose Pura Vida. I think Hector’s great talent is that conceives great bites rather than plates of food, and he works and reworks recipes until he gets them to a high gloss. Alas, the competition format of “Top Chef” isn’t kind to either of these traits.

The Marshall's

September 10th, 2009
7:17 pm

TV show or not, high quality food and sincere service speak for themselves. Pura Vida was a great restaurant before Top Chef and it will still be a great restaurant long after Top Chef is gone. Keep up the good work (and the steamed coconut buns) and we will keep coming back! See you soon!

Sam from Miami,FL

September 10th, 2009
9:38 pm

Hi Hector, I can’t wait to go to Atlanta and eat at your restaurant. Don’t feel bad about the outcome; I would like to see a French chef cooking “una alcapurria”.


September 10th, 2009
9:39 pm

I have not yet been to your restaurant, but based on all of the positive feedback I have heard from my neighbors and friends (not to mention here), my husband and I will be dining with you, soon. And, if the rumors are true, you will have NEW customers because of your appearance on Top Chef. So, be proud.


September 10th, 2009
11:02 pm

Don’t worry Hector, we all know you’re the best tapas chef in the city. You were an established and respected chef way before that silly show and will continue to be for years to come I’m sure.

[...] The people who are familiar with your food could care less what the judges think. Honestly, I love the way you cook. IMO, you are the best chef representing Atlanta See the original post:  Hector Santiago Dishes on his "Top Chef" experience | Food and … [...]

Kim Ong

September 14th, 2009
10:10 am

Hector – I don’t watch TV so this is the first I’ve heard about your appearance on the show. I don’t watch TV for many reasons – quality is often not the aim. Your food at Pura Vida remains one of my favorite in Atlanta. From the comments in this post, it is clear that your customers are proud of you. I look forward to seeing you the next time I’m in your restaurant.

Hector Santiago

September 14th, 2009
12:22 pm

Graciasssss! Thank you ya’ll! I love the love you all send me…I’m quiet over the E.C. (it’s all about drama and I provide it for this episode). I and you all know that I been a TopChef way before this show was concieved so I say …pura vida!
PS:come in for some H&B’s cooking!

John Kessler

September 14th, 2009
2:08 pm

Hector’s H&B Cooking: Braised goat with mofongo…one of the best dishes in the city.


September 16th, 2009
2:51 pm

Hola Hector –

My fiance and I love your restaurant! Its one of our favorites in Atlanta. Over the past year we have been at least 7 or 8 times (I lose count). Every time we come in, the food (and the service) is impeccable! Keep doing what you are doing! See you soon! :)


September 16th, 2009
2:59 pm

Hector, no te precupes. I have not been to your restaurant but from what I have seen the judges on Top Chef have not really appreciated cooking from the carribean. Carribean cooking, specifically from those islands that are a mix of Spanish, African and indigenous flavors revolve around a very different pallete than the traditional French, Spanish or even Mexican cooking that most are used to.

I love Top Chef as a show but just because you did not “win” does not mean that your skills are any less than those that do. Remember this is a game.

Una cubana que le gusta cocinar y comer.


September 16th, 2009
3:15 pm

Whoa – Bravo made a mistake. The next person eliminated already has his (yup, a guy) morning after interview posted on the website. And it’s who I hoped it would be! Cool.

Tantalize Me

September 16th, 2009
3:28 pm

Hector…we love your tapas; we’ve eaten at most of the tapas restaurants in the city and none compares to your cooking or sophistication of your menu items. Be proud you made it to Top Chef….how many other chefs would kill to get that opportunity!