Jose Santaella is a prominent Puerto Rican chef, cookbook author, restaurant owner and caterer with more than 20 years of experience and a vast knowledge on both Puerto Rico’s gastronomy and international cuisine. From Puerto Rico, Miami, Barcelona, New York and San Francisco, Santaella has worked with globally acclaimed chefs, such as Ferran Adria (El Bulli), Eric Ripert (Le Bernadin) and Gary Danko. In July of 2011 he opened his first restaurant, Santaella, to much acclaim in the buzzing market/nightlife district of Placita. Since its opening, the restaurant has been lauded in a variety of well known culinary columns and media channels such as Departures, El Mundo (Spain), The Telegraph (UK), Ralph Lauren Magazine, NBC News, Telemundo, Food & Wine and recently in the Cooking Channel’s Avec Eric series with Eric Ripert. In 2008 Chef Jose Santaella was the special guest at the Smithsonian Latino Center Gala in Washington, D.C., creating a gourmet menu inspired by the best Creole cuisine and paying tribute to Puerto Rican Culture. Since 2001, he has served as executive chef and owner of JSB Cooking Group, the premier catering company in Puerto Rico.
Jose Santaella is the author of best-selling cookbook “Cocina Tropical: The Classic and Contemporary Flavors of Puerto Rico” (Rizzoli, 2014), prologued by Eric Ripert. Cocina Tropical explores the tropical flavors and rich culinary traditions of America's island paradise. Puerto Rico, a land of gorgeous beaches and luxurious resorts, also boasts a rich culinary culture with a mix of influences: Spanish, African, Taíno (Native American), and French. For cooks who want to branch out and explore new flavors, Santaella makes that possible. He is also the co-author of “Puerto Rico: Grand Cuisine of the Caribbean” (UPR Press, 2004) a cookbook featuring nine master chefs and prologued by three-star Michelin chefs Santi Santamaría and Eric Ripert.
In January 2014, Santaella partnered up with United Kingdom based Compass Group through their Celebrity Chef Series. Santaella is tasked with spreading awareness nationwide on Puerto Rican food and cuisine as a regional Culinary Ambassador for their North America market.
Santaella’s passion for cooking began at a very early age when he cooked alongside his father, who owned several restaurants and cafeterias. His passion for cooking, tied to his unique personality, has driven him to become one of the most respected chefs in Puerto Rican cuisine.