Born in Mexico City, Mexico, Hugo Ortega immigrated to the United States in 1984. Ortega began his Houston restaurant career as a dishwasher at Backstreet Café. By 1995, he had graduated from culinary school and claimed the title executive chef. Today, along with his wife Tracy Vaught, chef Hugo Ortega owns and operates four Houston restaurants: Backstreet Cafe, Hugo’s, Caracol, and Xochi. In 2017, the Southern Foodways Alliance awarded him the 2017 Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hugo, explores chef Ortega’s journey from dishwasher to James Beard Award-winner and the inspiration behind his food and success.