STAFF PICKS: Ashley Santos

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Interview by Jillian Marks

Ashley Santos has been at Trade for four years. She made her way working first at the flatbread station and then the back kitchen where she quickly moved up on each station. After about a year and a half she was chosen to be a sous chef.

What is your role at Trade?
I’m a sous chef and I also manage the kitchen staff. If there’s a problem I solve it, if there’s food I cook it. It’s really just day to day management of the staff and operations.

What were you doing before you came to Trade?
I was working at the Museum of Fine Arts at their restaurant called Bravo and before that I was working at a little barbeque joint in Miami where I’m from. I went to culinary school at Johnson and Wales and moved back home for a year before I came to Boston.

When did you first become interested in the restaurant industry?
I think I always knew that I was going to work in the restaurant industry. I have loved eating and cooking ever since I was a kid and when I was sixteen I decided that I was going to go to culinary school. When I was younger I would come home after school and cook. I used to host dinner parties for my friends all the time and any holiday was an excuse for me to make way too much food for my family. One mother’s day I made a seventeen-page menu! Cooking has just always been a source of happiness for me.

What led you to work at Trade?
When I was working at the Museum I had a co-worker who used to work at Rialto and he was always raving about Jody Adams. He had mentioned that she was opening a new restaurant so one day I came to eat here at Trade to check it out. I loved the food and the place so I decided to make a change and come work here.

What’s your favorite part about your job?
As a sous chef and kitchen manager I get to be a part of the bigger picture. I’m able to help create the culture here and be more involved in the menu and to me that is the best part of my job. I also love the people here! The owners, managers, and staff all work to foster a really positive work environment.

What’s your favorite dish at Trade?
The harissa chicken bowl.