Executive Chef, Coyote Cafe & Cantina
Upon graduating from Scottsdale Culinary Institute in 1997, Chef Dakota Weiss began her career at Coyote Cafe working the Garde Manger & Hot Apps. A Santa Fean since her family moved to Santa Fe in 1988, Weiss attended Alameda Junior High and Santa Fe High School. She went on to study international business at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces — a turning point in her career options. While working part time at a Las Cruces coffee shop, she realized what she really wanted to study was culinary arts.
After three years at Coyote Cafe, Weiss went on to work at the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, under Chef Dean Fearing. She next went on to Atlanta, which eventually brought her to Chef Bruno Menard, at the 5-stars and 5-diamonds Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia. Eventually, Weiss was promoted to executive chef at Jer-ne at the Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Rey. There, she was named “Best New Chef” by Angeleno magazine in 2006. Weiss became a tour-de-force in the Los Angeles’ culinary community.
In 2011, Dakota appeared on Bravo’s “Top Chef Texas,” while that same year she joined the W Los Angeles as Executive Chef. In 2013 she opened Dakota’s POP Parlor, her own brand of innovative gourmet popcorn—recognized by Food Network as one of the “Top 30 Popcorns to Try in America” and CBS Los Angeles as “Best Popcorn in LA.” Weiss opened Estrella, which served up some of the best food on Sunset Blvd. including the famed “Rolling Stone” Weiss successfully ran that restaurant for two years before passing along the chef’s position to a colleague so she could focus on Sweetfin.
Weiss is the Executive chef and part owner of Sweetfin Poke, a fast-casual concept serving California-inspired Hawaiian soul food that opened in April of 2015 in Santa Monica. Their rapid expansion of twelve locations across Southern California, including San Diego, makes Weiss one of the most commercially successful women-owned restaurateurs in Southern California.
When not in a kitchen, Weiss has been involved in many charitable organizations, including No Kid Hungry which works to end childhood hunger in America, She served as Chef Co-Chair at Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry in Los Angeles in 2017 and 2018. Weiss’s culinary career that started at Coyote Cafe in 1997, brought her to prestigious positions in noted restaurants from Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Sarasota, Shanghai, and Los Angeles. She’s learned the art of cuisine from star chefs and restaurateurs. She has cooked side by side with culinary legends such as Jose Andres, Eric Ripert, Dominique Crenn, Nancy Silverton to name just a few. When asked why she has returned to Santa Fe after 24 years of exploring the culinary arts of this nation, she said, “Not only does my family remain in Santa Fe, I’m honored to both return to my Coyote Cafe roots, and take on the role of executive chef at this iconic restaurant.”