We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Santiago and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My thought process when starting my business was, in short, to connect with others through delicious comfort food presented in non-conventional ways, bringing new light to long standing classics and favorites. I often incorporate ingredients that one may have never thought to pair with another, using those overlooked or forgotten about and making them shine in their truest form. To me, food is what connects us all; it’s reason enough for a meeting with a friend or for gatherings, so why not make it worth it?
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think what sets me apart from other is the care and precision that I put into my executions. I think about how each and every ingredient I use will play into the final product that I present. What I am most proud of is a simple cookie, but one that I dedicated to my mom, my brown butter pecan cookie; Mom loves her butter pecan ice cream, after all. A little secret about my menu is that each item I offer is placed there for someone who influenced how I bake or cook, so that I never forget where I came from.
How did I get here? Was it easy? Cooking came naturally, but creating products that people would enjoy and pick over a competitor? That takes finesse and copious amounts of research and practice. I got here with tremendous support and a true passion for what I do.
I’ve learned two important lessons in this, and they’re two lessons that could be practiced in any aspect of life: Be patient and be yourself. Being patient when trying something new and maybe it’s a complete disaster. Go over the process, find and tune up or change some variables, and try again. Being yourself is very important in the kitchen; you infuse your personality, your very essence, into a dish. Be proud of what you serve.
My brand represents a symphony of flavors, each portraying an integral role. It represents an undying and relentless passion to connect you with a sensational experience.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am a coffee shop enthusiast. Anywhere I am in the world, I seek out the unique craft coffee works. The first place I’d bring that friend is to my favorite coffee shop, Roots Coffeehouse and sip on some expertly dialed in coffee or espresso. We’d likely hit up other spots, too, such as Cultivar or Cherry Coffee throughout the week. We would then move along to one of my favorite spots, Trinity Trails, more specifically, Dream Park, which boasts a playground you wish you had as a kid, rope swing included.
There are many spots to eat around here; we’d have to hit Black Cat Pizza for some nearly NY style slices, Rodeo Goat for a slammin burger and excellent cocktails & beer, Velvet Taco for (not only) tacos, but red velvet cake. I’d take them off to Dallas for a visit to Meddlesome Moth, an experience all within itself with their stained glass portrait ceilings, and pork belly with marshmallow sauce.
We’d visit the Kimball Art Museum or the Perot Science museum. There are many local shops along the way, including Leaves Tea & Book Shop.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, I have to thank my mom. Mom herded us all into the kitchen at such a young age and it instilled a love for feeding others early on. Food is a way of life in our family. We love to eat.
I have a great many supporters out there; to anyone who has tried my food and told me to keep going in pursuit of my passions. My partner, Luca, always reminding me that I am destined for greatness and being an invaluable support system through all my trial and error, triumphs and failures, everything in between, and for being brave enough to dance the kitchen dance with me; to Chef Lori Finkelman, who dragged me out of my comfort zone into the world of fine dining, which gave me the time to hone in on and learn skills that have taken me this far; to Matt Simmons, who opened my eyes to the wonders of mushrooms, once my least favorite ingredient, he taught me to love them, and so I started seeing other things that I ‘didn’t like’ in a new context, learning to appreciate that each ingredient has its place, and I use that knowledge to help others along their food journey; and most importantly to everyone who has ever enjoyed a meal with me, for food is my one of my favorite languages, one which connects us all in such a pure, magical way. Thank you!