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Hugo Ortega isn't just a cook: Living the American dream from dishwasher to top chef

Hugo Ortega isn't just a cook: Living the American dream from dishwasher to top chef

Hugo's

The oldest of eight siblings, Hugo Ortega grew up poor in Puebla, Mexico. While searching for an opportunity to better his and his family's life, Ortega found his way to Houston working many jobs. After rising from dishwasher to busboy to line cook at Backstreet Cafe to opening up Hugo's with his restaurateur wife, Tracy Vaught, he was awarded My Table's Chef of the Year award in 2010 and is currently a James Beard Award finalist.

Although he refers to himself as "just a cook," foodies and critics disagree. In this Hidden Houston video, Ortega shares his journey living the American dream.

Click on the photo (above) or here to watch the video, produced by ZenFilm.

Editor's note: Hidden Houston is an interactive multimedia series that aims to reveals the many things that are unique about the Bayou City and its surrounding areas.