Chef JC Ortega Featured on Broadway World

Chef JC Ortega Featured on Broadway World

Chef Spotlight: Juan Carlos Ortega of BLU ON THE HUDSON in Weehawken, NJ


Executive Chef Juan Carlos “JC” Ortega of BR Guest Hospitality’s Blue Fin, Blue Water Grill, and most recently Catch Steak has brought his years of experience working with seafood and Steak to create a menu composed of simple, clean ingredients that elicit complex flavors by drawing on a variety of influences from the Mediterranean and beyond. His cuisine is elevated yet approachable, offering selections for every diner.

Chef JC hails from Ecuador and moved to New York City in 1995. He began his culinary journey as a line cook at small restaurants throughout the city before landing his first job with BR Guest Hospitality in 1998. He worked his way up the ranks at Blue Water Grill, starting as a line cook and eventually being promoted to Sous Chef and Executive Sous Chef. In 2010, he oversaw the opening of Atlantic Grill Lincoln Center and was appointed Executive Chef at Blue Fin in 2014. From there, he joined Blu on the Hudson as their executive chef to launch their opening in 2023.

Broadwayworld had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Ortega about his career and Blu on the Hudson in Weehawken, New Jersey for our “Chef Spotlight.”

What was your earliest interest in cooking?

I was always in the kitchen from an early age, watching my grandmother and mother cook. Whether they were preparing breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I enjoyed being in the kitchen as it was peaceful and created a sense of warmth.

Who were some of your career mentors?  

I started working in NYC kitchens when I was 17 years old. While working alongside some talented chefs, they all mentored me knowingly and unknowingly shared culinary insight and expertise, making me the chef I am today.

What culinary styles have influenced your career?  

Working in the restaurant industry for the past 27 years, traveling throughout Europe and Asia, and being Latino and married to a Greek, I have understood, appreciated, and adapted many culinary cooking styles. Every culture has something unique to contribute to the world, and sharing a meal is the most bonding human experience.

What are the most distinguishing features of your work as a chef?  

I am a big fan of global cuisine as I incorporate my knowledge and travels, which brings a unique vision to Blu on the Hudson’s menu. It features many cultural touches from Japanese to Latin to Italian to New American. From the Hot Appetizers, I showcase Thick Cut Wagyu Bacon, which uses Japanese Wagyu beef; pastas are house-made which incorporates the Italian touches; New American is highlighted by our top-flight steak selection; and Whole Branzino for Two is inspired by my Greek wife. The dessert menu highlights Flourless Chocolate S’mores as well as Classic Tiramisu.

What is your favorite meal or meals?

One of my favorite dishes, cooked by my mother, is shrimp ceviche. However, my next choice would be dinner at Blu on the Hudson, starting with Chilled Shellfish, Crudos, and Nori Tacos, followed by Spanish Octopus and Basque Style Shrimp, Gnocchi, and as a main, Delmonico Steak with Whipped Potatoes. 

Tell me a little bit about your restaurant for our readers.

Blu on the Hudson is a Modern American restaurant that brings a New York City-style dining experience to the Weehawken, New Jersey waterfront with stunning views of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline, land and sea come together on the seafood forward menu accented by a top-flight steak program, a one-of-a-kind cocktail program, world-class wine program, and a soon-to-open rooftop event space.

Blu on the Hudson is located at 1200 Harbor Blvd in Weehawken, NJ.  The restaurant provides convenient valet parking for their guests for a nominal charge. It’s nice to know that they offer take-out and delivery on Grubhub and Uber Eats. For more information, menus, and hours of operation, please visit or call 201.636.1200.  Follow Blu on the Hudson on Instagram @bluonthehudson