Blacklight Media co-founder Chris Santos talks pandemic challenges; reveals favorite 2020 albums

Posted by on December 21, 2020


The food and entertainment industries have been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants, bands, and even venues have had to think outside of the box to keep businesses alive during a year of uncertainty. Metal Insider caught up with celebrity chef/ Blacklight Media founder Chris Santos to discuss challenges he experienced first hand, as well as revealing a few of his favorite albums of 2020. 


2020 has hit the music industry and restaurant businesses hard due to COVID-19. What are a few things you’ve learned from this pandemic?

It’s really unbelievable how much this virus has changed the course of everything we all once took for granted, and how devastating it has been across all industries, including the two I am immersed in – The Restaurant and Record businesses. I’d have to say the lesson I learned that stands out the most, is always be ready to pivot. For every curve ball, and there have been a ridiculous amount of curve balls, you need to be able to get creative to find some sort of a solution. There have been so many points where It felt like there was no solution, but myself and the great teams that surround me refuse to give up hope and determination to figure it out, to get through this. 


While the length of this pandemic remains uncertain, what plans do you have to move forward in 2021?

Well, I was supposed to marry my beautiful fiancé this year, but with the current state of the world, it just wasn’t a possibility with our families unable to be there. I’m hoping we get this vaccine and that I can finally marry her! I also just want to be able to reopen all of our restaurants and give our restaurant family their jobs and get back to what we all love doing most, and get all our amazing bands on Blacklight Media and Metal Blade Records back onto the road safely! 


What has the overall experience for your staff been like working inside the Beauty & Essex kitchen during this time?

The commitment and dedication I have seen from my Beauty families is unparalleled. Everyone has risen to the occasion and done whatever necessary to run an extra safe and sound restaurant that people can enjoy a delicious meal with confidence. I’m really proud of everyone on my team and grateful for them always, especially this year as we have had to close down and reopen multiple times which is a really difficult task, but my staff has really risen to these occasions. So thankful for each and every one of them. 


What are your thoughts on what things would look like post pandemic?

I just really hope that everyone who needs it can get the medical attention they need, that the first responders have the help and rest that they need, that the world can start to open businesses up again (once a vaccine is out) and be able to operate in a safe and healthy environment, and that families get to be with each other again especially on holidays and special occasions. I do think that once everyone is vaccinated and the world comes back to “normal” it’s going to be the roaring twenties all over again. I think concerts are going to be absolutely electric and dining out appreciated in ways never appreciated before. 


What albums have helped you get through 2020?

So many actually it’s been a great year for music! I’d have to say in no particular order: 

Killer Be Killed: Reluctant Hero 

Deftones: Ohms 

Fight The Fight: Deliverance 

Orbit Culture: Nija 

Avatar : Hunter Gatherer

Lamb of God: self titled 

Mr Bungle: the raging wrath…..

Bring me the Horizon : Post Human

Hatebreed : weight of the false self 

Alpha Wolf: A quiet place to die 


In terms of vegan meals, what’s one of your personal favorite vegan recipes? 

We have an amazing Mushroom and Cauliflower Bolognese on the menu at Beauty & Essex LA that is just a vegan game changer. Developed by My Chef Daniel Kotz, it’s truly a show stopper. You would never ever ever believe it was vegan! 


Is there anything else you want to say or add?

Just for everyone to hang in there. 2020 was a once in a lifetime kind of year (thankfully!!) and to just be kind to one another out there, tell the people you love that you love them, and as soon as able get out there and support your favorite restaurants and bands  – they need all of our support now more than anyone can imagine. Thank you everyone and Happy New Year! 

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