You may soon run into Jason Santos and his blue hair in some unexpected places, like the shelves of your local Target or Walmart.
The chef has been trying to find ways to deploy his brand outside of his Boston restaurants, ever since his 2010 stint on Fox’s reality TV show “Hell’s Kitchen,” hosted by Gordon Ramsay. Santos began working with C3 Entertainment, a California-based licensing agency, in 2014. Last year, he landed his first licensing deal — one that put his name and face on a Master Card debit card.
In recent months, Santos has lined up licensing agreements for a line of sauces, a collection of unusual soda flavors, and a set of grow kits for herb and vegetable seeds. There has even been talk of a video game app and a line of blue-tinged pots and pans.
“Once I got one thing, now it’s snowballing,” Santos says. “Now, I’ve got a whole bunch of deals on the table.”
Santos says his restaurant work remains his main passion: He’s busy tending to Abby Lane in the Theater District and Back Bay Harry’s, as well as Buttermilk & Bourbon, a new place that will open later this fall in the Back Bay. The licensing stuff? He says that’s just a hobby.
“I don’t go out and rock climb on Saturdays,” Santos says. “I go out and try to work my brand.”
Santos concedes that his blue hair has turned into an important asset, by helping to make him more memorable. It all started almost by accident, more than 20 years ago when Santos, on a whim, decided to dye his hair in a hotel room before an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.
“It just took off,” Santos says. “[But] I just turned 40. How much longer can I rock blue hair?”
With all these products coming to stores with his mug on them, Santos has already solved his own question. The answer? Many years to come. — JON CHESTO
Virtually groundbreaking moment in Roxbury
It was not your typical building groundbreaking, and not just because it involved virtual-reality goggles.
Suffolk Construction’s long-waited $50 million expansion of its Roxbury headquarters got underway last Thursday. It was an event that attracted what seemed like the brain trust of City Hall.
In addition to Mayor Martin J. Walsh, four city councilors were attendance: president Michelle Wu, Frank Baker, Tito Jackson, and Bill Linehan. From the agency formerly known as the Boston Redevelopment Authority were its director, Brian Golden, and director of planning, Sara Myerson.
Two members of Walsh’s cabinet also showed up: economic chief John Barros and housing honcho Sheila Dillon.
Even Attorney General Maura Healey was on hand.
Suffolk CEO John Fish in his remarks explained that Healey came to champion Roxbury.
That was a theme of the morning with Walsh commenting in his speech: “When I walked in, Councilor Jackson said, ‘It’s great to be in a groundbreaking in Roxbury and not other parts of the city.’ And I said, ‘Absolutely it is.’ ”
Afterwards, both the mayor and Fish donned space-age looking goggles, and with shovels in hand and giant screens to their side, they broke ground virtually.
— SHIRLEY LEUNG
A more complicated exit for Health Care for All chief
In our last column, we reported on Amy Whitcomb Slemmer’s resignation, effective Oct. 15, as executive director of Boston-based Health Care for All. She’s leaving the nonprofit advocacy group after eight years to complete her studies to become an Episcopal priest, and she expects to be ordained in June.
Turns out there’s more to that story, and Slemmer’s departure is not an entirely happy one.
According to Health Care for All’s board president, Steve Gorrie, the organization is facing “some financial issues,” including six recent layoffs and hoped-for grants that didn’t come through, resulting in “a lot of discussions between the board and Amy about what was best for the organization.”
Ultimately, Gorrie says, “given her pursuit of her ordination . . . we came to a mutual agreement that she would resign and move in that direction.”
One issue at hand: whether Slemmer’s seminary studies are a distraction from her day job.
“The board was concerned about her ordination and her focus on that,” says Community Catalyst executive director Rob Restuccia, who will be Health Care for All’s interim head once Slemmer, 52, departs.
“Health Care for All has been my top professional priority and I invested my heart and soul into the work with joy,” Slemmer now says. “I hope they never had reason to worry about my focus.”
— SACHA PFEIFFER
Public records add up to big business
It’s shaping up to be busy fall for Lauren Goldberg and the Boston law firm she oversees, KP Law.
That’s because KP Law, formerly Kopelman and Paige, represents more cities and towns in Massachusetts than any other firm. Municipal law is its specialty, and that line of work is getting more complicated with the Legislature’s biggest rewrite of the state’s public records law since the 1970s.
Starting on Oct. 13, KP Law will hold a series of free invite-only sessions aimed at deconstructing the recent changes.
Among other changes, the new law puts a heavier burden on cities and towns with regard to legal fees. Costs can vary significantly, depending in part on whether the person or group behind a records request is using a small-town lawyer or a big Boston firm.
All the added complexities presumably should mean more business for KP Law. But it isn’t quite that simple. Goldberg hopes these workshops can prevent legal problems down the line.
“Any law that has a bearing on municipalities, in many ways, does lead to more business,” says Goldberg, the firm’s managing attorney. “That’s a double-edged sword. . . . Things that are complicated for municipalities [aren’t] necessarily good for our bottom line. We believe in proactive law and lawyering. We think that saves them money and time.”
— JON CHESTO
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