Guest Celebrity Chefs
Steve Santana is a web developer turned chef and artisan thanks to a fateful encounter with Gastropod Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog. In 2009, Santana’s firm hosted the first installation of Miami’s Cobaya underground dining club, for which Bullfrog was the featured chef. Having struck up a friendship, Bullfrog took Santana to StarChefs’ International Chefs Congress, and the coder found himself falling for the world of cuisine. Four years later, Santana had given up everything he’d worked toward for 12 years and shifted gears to follow his heart.
Alongside Bullfrog, he cooked at Gastropod and then The Freehand’s Broken Shaker, eventually taking over the bar’s kitchen. He then joined Giorgio Rapicavoli’s team at Eating House in Coral Gables. Before long, Santana was known more for his cooking prowess than his computer skills, and he was approached by a building owner who wanted to install a taco spot with house-made tortillas.
Taquiza was born, and its tortillas—made from flavor-packed, house-nixtalamized heirloom corn—are the best in Miami. Beyond supplying Taquiza with a base for its tacos and totopos, Santana sells the his tortillas to other restaurants, a strategy that’s spreading the gospel of fresh masa and enabling Santana to expand his business through a soon-to-launch commissary. Santana is a leader in Miami’s fledgling artisan community, adding depth to the market and influencing tastes through time-honored techniques.