Our American Dream: Hugo Ortega, From Homeless Immigrant to Houston's Celebrated Chef

Hugo Ortega began working as a dishwasher and line cook. Today, he  is now the owner of Hugo's - Houston's award winning restaurant offering a different kind of Mexican dishes.

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    Chefs and brothers Hugo and Ruben Ortega work together at both Hugo’s and Backstreet Cafe, shown here.
    Paula Murphy/Patterson & Murphy Public Relations
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    This chocolate pyramid dessert from Hugo’s is served with sauce and candy made from Xoconostle, a cactus fruit from Mexico.
     
    Kenneth Roy Stearns
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    Fish “a la Veracruzana” style at Hugo’s is served with onion, tomatoes and green olives.
    Paula Murphy/Patterson & Murphy Public Relations
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    Another Hugo’s dish offers crab with a small salad of carrot, squash and chayote.
    Paula Murphy/Patterson & Murphy Public Relations
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    Hugo Ortega stands with his daughter Sophia Elizabeth on Father’s Day.
    Paula Murphy/Patterson & Murphy Public Relations
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    Chef Hugo Ortega and his wife Tracy Vaught sit with famed Mexican cookbook writer Diana Kennedy when they hosted a signing at Hugo’s.
    Paula Murphy/Patterson & Murphy Public Relations
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    Hugo’s sits in the heart of Houston’s Montrose area.
    Paula Murphy/Patterson & Murphy Public Relations
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    Serving moles, tamales, squash blossoms and other authentic Mexican dishes, Hugo’s, seen here, opened in 2002.
    Paula Murphy/Patterson & Murphy Public Relations
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