Runtime: 07:49

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.

Published by ava

Director Ava Lowrey is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Duke University’s MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts. Since 2005, Ava has been using multimedia to connect with a larger audience and as a means of social activism. As creator of PeaceTakesCourage, millions have viewed Ava’s work and she has been featured in The New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, CNN, Mother Jones Magazine, and more. As a director Ava has completed multiple short documentaries and screened at festivals across the country. A native of Alexander City, Alabama, Ava’s films often focus on her southern roots, sharing untold stories centered in the American south.