Chris Santos, The Stanton Social, Lower East Side, Manhattan, Global, Eclectic, Small Plates, Heavy Metal, Bristol, Rhode Island, Providence, Los Angeles, Miami, Time Cafe, Noho, Executive Chef, Chef Q and A, Q & A, Suba, Wyanoka, Food Network, Chopped, Judge, Daredevil Chefwear


People say that once the restaurant business gets in your blood, you’re there to stay. Chef Chris Santos got his first taste of kitchen life at the ripe old age of thirteen, washing dishes in a small restaurant in his hometown of Bristol, Rhode Island. Knowing this was where he wanted his career to head, he attended Johnson and Wales University in Providence. Upon graduation, he decided to learn about different cuisines the old fashioned way, by traveling and sampling.

When he got to New York, he worked as the Executive Chef at Time Cafe in Noho. He was just 23. From there he went onto Suba, then Wyanoka, and opened The Stanton Social in 2005.

For people traveling to NYC, how would you describe your cooking?

My food, and the food at Stanton Social, is basically modern, whimsical and flavorful takes on classic dishes. On the Stanton Social menu in particular, we take dishes you might find at cocktail parties across the world and make them a little more “restaurant.” Serious cooking techniques and ingredients applied to typically casual dishes.

Your menu samples from a variety of cuisines, do you have a favorite that you like to cook?

I think the dishes that come most naturally to me are ones from Spain, Italy, Mexico, and Latin America, where slow and careful cooking and treating humble ingredients simply are the cornerstones.

What would you say has been the most influential culinary experience for you as a chef?

Living in New York City and being surrounded literally by the some of the best chefs and best restaurants in the world is a constant inspiration. And my time spent traveling elsewhere - through Europe, Mexico, New Mexico, the American Southwest, and New Orleans - have all been particularly influential.

Is it true you’re allergic to shellfish? (If yes) How do you navigate around it when cooking?

Yes, I have an allergy that is milder then it was when I was younger, but it certainly still exists. I have a great team of chefs around me whose palettes I trust, but I sneak in a little taste of anything I'm developing and hope for the best usually. As long as it's just a bite, the worst I usually end up with is a little stomach ache, and I can live with that for the bigger picture. I am mostly allergic to crustaceans. It's funny how the body works, I'm naturally turned off by the aromas of lobsters or shrimp cooking. It’s strange.


You worked as a food stylist on the movie “No Reservations.” What is the most surprising thing when food becomes a prop?

I did work on that movie, but due to my dad's illness, I couldn't contribute as much as I would have liked. I did extensive food styling for the movie Hitch with Will Smith before that.

Food Styling is interesting and challenging because they may cut a scene where, say an ice cream dessert is half eaten, and then they break the crew for a 40 minute lunch, and when they resume filming that dessert needs to look exactly as it did an hour ago. So I learned the value of Polaroids right then! Also food gets very dry under those lights VERY quickly, so keeping the food glistening and “fresh” looking is the most challenging aspect and that was probably the most surprising thing, how quickly food starts to look kind of weak under those lights.

You appear on Food Network’s Chopped, what role has being on TV played in your cooking career?

TV is a natural promotional tool for chefs today. I have no grand plans to become a TV chef, but I will say this: I truly appreciate the privilege of being on TV, and it certainly does drive customers to your restaurants.

As a young chef I used to think it was a bit of an inconvenience and being on camera was a little scary. Now? I absolutely love it, and “Chopped” has been a truly amazing experience. Watching young chefs overcome their own fears in front of you, and sharing a judges panel with the other chefs who are all brilliant, has been an amazing experience. And let me also add, that what those competing chefs do is not easy. In most cases these chefs are young, like sous chef level cooks, they have never been on TV before, never cooked against a clock before, and certainly never had 10 cameras and 3 judges scrutinizing their every move and thought. It's intimidating and humbling to watch these chefs face down the fear.

You’re a drummer, so we’re going with the assumption that you get to weigh in on the music played in your dining room. What are some of the standouts on your play list?

Ha ha, I am a drummer, but the music I listen to is not, um “dining room appropriate.” I'm a life long card carrying rock & metal guy, so the music is my partner Peter Kane's baby.  Like me, music is one of his real passions, and he was one of the pioneering DJ's in downtown NYC in the 90's and he makes all our mixes. He really crafts the music to fit what night it is, what time it is, what the crowd is like, and he always has his finger on the pulse of what's hot at the moment or more accurately what's about to be hot. But I'm usually listening to the Deftones, so I have no idea what it is, I just know the dining room always has a great audio vibe.


Any update with Daredevil Chefwear, your tattoo inspired chef wear?

Some of the best dishes need to simmer a really long time. Haha! Michelle is very busy and we talk about it all the time, but in reality I think it’s going to be another year or so before we both have the time to pull it off the way we want to. But it IS coming. I hope that it is not only a chefwear line, but a full street wear line as well.


What are the least “chefy” and most “chefy” things you like to eat and why?

Least Chefy: I guess I would say I am a sucker for well done fast food. I love a Five Guys or In-n-Out Burger and eat that kind of stuff more then I'd like to admit.

Most Chefy: I really love Cassoulet. I went to Toulouse once and ate cassoulet every night for a week. And I have always loved things like lamb's tongue, lamb heart, and beef cheek, and it's nice to see all those cuts becoming a little more commonplace on menus.

What is your least favorite new culinary trend and why?

Oh I hate to bash anything, but I guess I would say the whole molecular gastronomy thing just doesn't interest me at all. I appreciate the science, and I find some of the concepts interesting, but to me it's not cooking. It takes the craft out of it.

Is there something you always keep in stock at your home that you would advise a home cook to stock?

It's funny but when I cook in other people's homes, I am amazed that some people don't have good salt, good olive oil, and fresh herbs. The basics. Good olive oil is pricey, but it’s so good! 


Which purveyors inspire your creativity?

Pat Lafreida. Pat and Mark really get involved in your menu and they really want your food to translate to the customer how good their meat is. I have never met purveyors like them, they are just as interested in the final restaurant product as they are in selling to you in the first place. And that's why they are the best at what they do. They care what happens to the meat AFTER it leaves their warehouse.

Is there a cooking tool we’d be surprised to find out you use?

I think it might be more surprising what I DON'T use. I am a basic guy. Give me a sharp knife, a microplane, some pans, and some fire, and let's go make dinner.

Who else in your field is doing interesting things that you think should deserve more praise and why?

Ryan Angulo at Buttermilk Channel is a very talented cook doing some really crafty, really flavorful

And I always have to give a shout out to Josh Capon at Lure. I think he is one of the more under-rated chefs in the city. He has a way with fish, and with big classic American flavors that is second to none.


You have a tattoo based on the art from Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal. Another assumption we’re going with... that you’re a fan. Can you share what you love there?

Ok. I have never eaten there. It's number one on my list. But I love that book!!!! And there was an image in there that really spoke to me and so I “borrowed” her as part of a collaborative tattoo that I have. I hope to get there in the coming month actually. I have a trip to Canada planned with my wife. So fingers crossed. 

For late night?

DBGB for killer comfort food.

Won’t break the bank, but has killer food?

- Franny’s in Park Slope, Brooklyn,

- Back Forty in the East Village, and

- Macondo on the Lower East Side.

Off the beaten track places to eat, that you’d be excited to take an adventurous eater?

I love the whole burger experience, so it's always a lot of fun to go the Burger Joint in the Parker Meridien with someone who has never been. 


Authentic Portuguese restaurants?

- Aldea

- Convivium Osteria

- Pao!

All do a good job.....


- Top five restaurants (other than your own restaurants and regardless of price points)

- Michael's Genuine Food and Drink in Miami

- Scarpetta in NYC

- Kuma's Corner in Chicago

- Carnevino in Vegas

- Gjelina in LA

Any hometown favorites?

Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island, is a long time consistent favorite and Persimmon in the town I grew up in (Bristol, RI) is the kind of restaurant you never would expect to see in small town USA, even 10 years ago. Sophisticated, amazing food.

Any places you’ve traveled to that you’ve had great meals?

Oh God! Too numerous to mention. But New Mexico and New Orleans in the USA always deliver, and the food on the Amalfi coast of Italy and anywhere in Spain is basically too good to be true. And give me some carne asada and a salt rimmed beer in Mexico and let me proceed directly to heaven.


Spicy Shrimp Satays with Roasted Corn and Feta Relish

Recipe Courtesy of Chris Santos

This is a great salad in the early spring, when the peas are still quite nutty. As it gets closer to summer and the peas are a lot sweeter, substitute feta cheese for the pecorino.


4 - 6 servings



- 12 each, shrimp, peeled and deveined, sized 8-12 per pound.

For the shrimp marinade

- 1 cup olive oil

- 1 tbsp tomato paste

- 1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo (remove chipotles and use only 1 tbsp of the remaining adobo)  

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 1 tbsp thyme, chopped

- 1 tsp chile powder

For the relish

- 3 ears of corn, shucked, grilled or lightly roasted

- 2 ripe tomatoes, diced small

- 5 each tomatillos, diced small

- 1 small red onion, minced

- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

- juice of 1 lime

- 1 tsp chile powder

- 1 tsp ground cumin

- olive oil to coat


1) Marinate shrimp 1 day ahead in the shrimp marinade ingredients.

2) Combine all relish ingredients (can be combine up to one day ahead).

3) To serve, cook shrimp in a grill pan (or saute pan) over very high heat, 2 minutes per side, or until "curled" and have lost translucence.

4) Season with salt and pepper and squeeze juice of 1 small lime over.

5) Transfer to serving plate and top with relish.


Global / Eclectic

Lower East Side

99 Stanton Street

New York, NY 10002 (view map)

T:212.995.0099 (make a reservation)



Daily: 5pm - 2 am

Sat - Sun: 11am - 3pm


Chris Santos’ recommendations on where to eat in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Rhode Island, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.


Chris Santos’ recommendations on where to eat in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Rhode Island, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.

- Andrea Cavalieri of Cecconi’s