Rising Star Artisan Steve Santana of Taquiza - Biography

Miami Beach, FL

March 2016

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. 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 businessman interested in Mexican food.

Taquiza was born, and its tortillas—made from flavor-packed, house-nixtalamized heirloom corn—are the best in Miami. Beyond supplying Taquiza, Santana sells his tortillas to other restaurants, a strategy that’s spreading the gospel of fresh masa and enabling Santana to expand his business. He’s a leader in Miami’s fledgling artisan community, and next up, with chef-partner Washington Charles, is The Grdn, a beer and hot dog concept that hopes to do for the hot dog in Miami what Santana has already done for the tortilla.