Chef Hugo Ortega was born in Mexico City, the oldest of a family of eight children. At 15, he began working at one of several Procter & Gamble factories in Mexico to help support his family. In 1984, Ortega immigrated to Houston with a cousin and a friend. He had no contacts or job leads but was determined to make a life for himself in America. Step by step, Ortega set down roots in the bustling oil capital of Houston, Texas. He found employment as a dishwasher, busboy, and office cleaner and worked to improve his English.
In July 2002, Ortega and Vaught—who married in 1994—opened a third restaurant concept, Hugo's, serving regional Mexican cuisine. With the opening of Hugo's, Ortega journeyed full-circle to rediscover the foods of his homeland. Since opening, Hugo's has been lauded by local, regional, and national media, including being named a "Top Table" by Bon Appetit, and making both the "Where to Eat Now in 30 American Cities" and "Restaurants We Love" lists in Gourmet. Ortega also has made two guest chef appearances at the James Beard House in New York City.
In Street Food of Mexico, award-winning chef Hugo Ortega of Hugo's Authentic Mexican Cuisine, journeys across Mexico enjoying the foods of his homeland. Mexican street food represents the best of traditional cooking.