FERNANDO RUIZ is Executive Chef at the world-renowned Santacafé in Santa Fe, New Mexico. An avid outdoorsman, Fernando has been on many Food Network shows, recently winning two major competitions: “Guy’s Grocery Games” and “Chopped”. The latter aired November 1, 2016. Born in Phoenix and raised in Mexico, Ruiz grew up watching his mother and grandmother cooking. He wanted to be a priest–instead, he was drawn to the gang life. “I spent my 21st birthday in jail. I asked myself if this was what I really wanted or was I going to turn it around. When I got out of jail, I went straight to culinary school in Scottsdale…I haven’t looked back. You could say food saved my life,” said Ruiz, now 39.