The Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe is excited to announce award-winning chef John Rivera Sedlar as restaurateur of the hotel’s new restaurant ELOISA. ELOISA will open this fall on the main floor of the hotel. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and will serve Southwestern Latin fusion cuisine. Friendly, professional service will complement the great food and the comfortable, warm environment.
In creating this alliance, the Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe puts ingenuity and innovation in modern Latin cuisine at the top of its agenda. Sedlar is one of Los Angeles’ most successful and best-loved chefs. He owns the sleek, pan-Latin fusion restaurant Rivera. He returns to his hometown of Santa Fe after four decades of pleasing diners in Los Angeles.
“Santa Fe has long been, and still is, the epicenter of the most flavorful, vibrant Southwestern foods found anywhere in the United States,” says Chef Sedlar. “I’m so looking forward to returning to the Santa Fe cocina to cook once again my own contemporary versions of the wonderful foods I first ate as a child in my grandmother’s kitchen on Alto Street.”
“Chef Sedlar’s mastery of modern Latin cuisine and his Santa Fe roots make him a perfect fit for our restaurant,” says Tauseen Malik, Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe General Manager. “His culinary vision and creativity will bring a fresh new outlook to the culinary landscape of Santa Fe.”
Sedlar was named “the Father of Modern Southwest Cuisine” by Gourmet magazine and has competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. He guest-taught at the Culinary Institute of America and is the author of many cookbooks including “Modern Southwest Cuisine,” “Tamales,” and “The Tamale Poster.”
In 2011, Sedlar was named “Chef of the Year” by Esquire magazine and RIVERA restaurant was acclaimed as one of the nation’s “Best New Restaurants 2011.” Sedlar was recognized in the legendary Cook’s Magazine feature “Top 50 Who’s Who of Cooking in America,” and in Food & Wine magazine’s “Honor Roll of American Chefs.” He received the Silver Spoon Award from Food Arts Magazine. In addition, he served for 10 years as spokesman for Patrón tequila.
Sedlar was raised on bizcochitos, empanaditas, and tamales in the New Mexican kitchens of his mother, aunts, and his grandma Eloisa, who was a professional chef. His father moved to New Mexico to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory. His middle name, Rivera, comes from his mother’s family, which has lived in northern New Mexico for centuries.
He grew up in Santa Fe and spent three years in the Spanish cities of Sevilla and Zaragoza. In 1973, he apprenticed himself to legendary French chef Jean Bertranou of L’Ermitage in Los Angeles and mastered classic techniques while evolving his own approach to cooking. Sedlar has traveled extensively throughout Mexico, Latin America, and Spain to study Latin food traditions, and he is also the creator and founder of the first Latino food museum in the United States, Museum Tamal.
Sedlar’s first restaurant, Saint Estephe, opened in 1980 and was named “among the very best in California, or even the West” by Bon Appétit magazine. At Saint Estephe, Sedlar combined his classical training with his love of New Mexico’s cuisine to create what he named Modern Southwest Cuisine, also the title of his first book. He continued to create delicious, innovative food at his next restaurants, first Bikini in 1991, and then Abiquiu in 1994, both in Santa Monica.
Gillian Ballance MS, DWS has spent the last 20 years working in the best fine dining restaurants, hotels and resorts in the United States.
Ms Ballance began her career at The Rainbow Room, one of the most beloved restaurants in New York City, and worked under Andrea Immer Robinson. While there, Ballance’s thirst for knowledge and passion for wine became evident, so when Andrea became the Beverage Director at the Windows of the World Restaurant, she took Gillian with her.
Exposed to a cellar with over 100,000 bottles was the best education a passionate wine enthusiast could have and Ballance’s career soared. Her career includes opening up Cello in NYC, Wine and Beverage Director at Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara, Plumpjack Group’s Wine Director, Wine Consultant and Sommelier for Bottega Restaurant in Napa Valley, Wine Director at the luxurious Cavallo Point. Currently Ballance is the National Education Manager at Treasury Wine Estates.
Ballance has been featured in numerous publications like Wine Spectator, Food and Wine Magazine and an abundance of Trade publications. She has also judged at several wine competitions and conducts wine seminars and lectures across the United States.
In 2012 Ballance passed the esteemed Master Sommelier Diploma Exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers, representing one of 30 women in the world. She received her Higher Certificate of Distinction as well as her Diploma in Wines & Spirits from the British Wine and Spirits Education Trust. In 2016, Ballance became an Approved Education Provider for the WSET Wine and Spirit courses. This year, Ballance was appointed to sit on the James Beard Foundation Beverage Advisory Board
Chef de Cuisine, Uchi Denver
Lucas Chandler credits his high school culinary teacher, passion for mountain bike racing, and experientmental quest to create healthy body fuel, for his love of food. While he received formal culinary training at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, his hands-on learning started when he became a personal chef to professional athletes upon graduating from culinary school. He then gravitated to the restaurant scene and gained over 20 years in French, Italian, and Spanish cuisine experience, serving as an integral leader of numerous teams and elevating Denver’s culinary scene. Chandler rose through the ranks at long-standing Italian eatery Il Posto to become executive chef. He later joined prestigious restaurants including Coohills and Izakaya Den before joining Uchi Denver. His relaxed approach and attention to detail are key to the success of his team. He says his favorite part of his job these days is mentoring younger chefs and seeing their ideas come to life in various Uchi dishes.
Sean Sinclair is our Executive Chef and Proprietor at Bar Castaneda and Kin at Castaneda and Executive Chef/ Partner at The Legal Tender Saloon in Lamy. He was born and raised in Tijeras, New Mexico and has great pride in his home state, the land of enchantment. Right out of high school Sinclair Moved to Portland, Oregon to attend culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. From a very young age Sean has recognized the importance of knowing where his food came from so he wanted to make the move to the Pacific Northwest to experience the deep rooted Farm to Table culture that was the Portland food scene. After several years working in some of the finest kitchens in PDX, Sinclair made the move home and took the Executive Chef position at Albuquerque’s Farm and Table. Under his leadership Farm and Table won many accolades including being named “Best Restaurant Albuquerque”, from many publications including USA Today. From Farm and Table Chef Sean took a Sous Chef position at the world famous Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia working under the Pope of American Cuisine himself, Patrick O’Connell. The Inn at Little Washington is a 3 Michelin Star restaurant and in 2019 was recognized as being the 5th ranked restaurant in the entire world.
Over the past two decades, Marika Vida-Arnold has served as the Wine Director of the Ritz-Carlton Central Park, New York, Sommelier of the top-rated Laurent Tourondel Bistro, BLT Market and Sommelier for the Philadelphia Ritz-Carlton with ‘Top Chef’ winner Kevin Sbraga. She developed the opening wine program at 10Arts with Chef Eric Ripert and Chef Jennifer Carroll. Her most recent project is the critically acclaimed Phenomenal Femmes Program, which focuses on female winemakers from around the globe. It has been featured in Bloomberg, Forbes, Haute Living, Gotham, The Somm Journal and The Wine Enthusiast. She holds titles of Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and the American Sommelier Association. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators and holds the Advanced Certificate for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. Marika has been a Wine Educator for the famed Argentine Winery Catena Zapata and she is a member of the Full Circle Sommelier Network, working with Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein. She is a presenter for Wine Australia and the Australian Women in Wine Awards. Under the auspices of her own company Vida et Fils Marika works with corporate clients, presenting for special events. Clients include Glaxo-Smith-Kline, NYSE, Prologis, IMG, R.R. Donnelley, Acuris among many notable others. She is currently a Wine Educator for the International Law Firm Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCoy. She has served on Eric Asimov’s Tasting Panel for the New York Times and
been featured on Barrons.com for romantic wine picks. She is a freelance wine writer and a presenter at the Nantucket, Newport, Charleston and Destin Food and Wine Festivals. Additionally in our challenged year of 2020, Marika created a very successful LIVE series on Instagram with her trademarked name TheMomSomm as well as moderating virtual events with Geodesy, Marques de Caceres, Domaine des Lambrey and Taittinger.
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.”
Chef Jose Fernandez brings his creativity and extensive expertise to the table to lead the culinary program & talented team at Terra Restaurant, located at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe.
With over 20 years of experience, Fernandez joined Terra Restaurant from Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village in Los Angeles, where he was executive chef for over 3 years at the popular restaurant Coin & Candor.
Prior to that, Fernandez held various culinary positions over the years, perfecting his craft at top dining and hospitality establishments, including Peninsula Hotels and Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts, in different regions all across the country.
Originally from Barcelona, Spain, Chef Fernandez spent his formative years working in Michelin-starred restaurants throughout his native country. It was these early experiences, along with memories from his own family’s kitchen, which inspired his culinary philosophy - to use fresh and seasonal ingredients, with an emphasis on local, organic and sustainable whole foods wherever possible. Fernandez is passionate about incorporating tastes of the local culture & regionally-grown ingredients into his flavorful dishes; and
fusing traditional methods with progressive techniques and global influences to create inventive, evolving menus that will bring something new to the dining experience.
Fernandez is excited to be a part of Santa Fe’s thriving culinary scene and community of talented chefs from around the world. He looks forward to pursuing his passions, exploring Santa Fe’s expansive Farmers Markets and working with local purveyors. When he’s not in the kitchen, Fernandez can be found spending time with his family and enjoying the outdoors, hiking & cycling around the region’s diverse, stunning terrain.
James Campbell Caruso
Dave began his culinary career twenty years ago, while living in New Hampshire and completing a B.A in Philosophy from Plymouth State University. Dave started as a baker in an all-organic bakery where he developed a deep appreciation for sustainable, local, from-scratch cooking. These pillars became the basis of his cooking philosophy. Dave moved on to cook in San Francisco and then Santa Fe, where he spent ten years as chef of the venerable Santacafé. Dave then opened his own restaurant, Amavi, to critical acclaim, where both the cuisine and the wine focused on the Mediterranean region. Most recently Dave turned his culinary exploration to New England where he spent four years as the chef of Maxfish, delving deeply into the world of fish and farm-to-table dining. Regional cuisine and teaching have always been a top priority for Dave. He has traveled extensively in both Europe and the Far East researching local cuisines.
Dave launched the Street Food Institute in 2014, a non-profit culinary entrepreneurship-training program. Since its inception this social enterprise model has enjoyed the success of twenty five small, food based business start as a result of the teaching and support of the Street Food Institute. The Street Food Institute currently runs three food trucks in Santa Fe and Albuquerque and has most recently started a café in Albuquerque in September of 2017. In 2021 Dave and his wife Heather started a new venture, Horno Restaurant. A gastropub concept one block off the plaza in Santa Fe.
Brett Davis, MS
Master Sommelier and Sales and Education Manager at E. & J. Gallo Winery
Brett Davis is the Sales & Education Manager at E. & J. Gallo Winery. He is a passionate wine sales professional with extensive leadership experience. Strong track record of success in sales management, employee engagement, project management, public speaking, and education.
In 2009, Brett passed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ diploma level exam and earned the title of Master Sommelier. Just over two hundred fifty individuals worldwide have earned this certification over its forty-year history. In addition to his current position, Brett consults with restaurateurs, wholesalers, and retailers nationally with beverage and service training. He consults with brands creating new products, advising on flavor profiles and development. Considered one of the resident whiskey and spirits experts for the Court of Master Sommeliers, he judges spirits contests, gives regular lectures, and proctors monthly exams for others going through the certification process.
Most recently. Brett Davis was the fine wine manager at Lux Wines. Prior to that, he was the chief operating officer for Falls City Hospitality Group (FCHG) in Louisville where he spearheaded concept and design development while managing the beverage programs for all properties. Brett founded the group in 2010. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Davis started working in kitchens at the age of 16. He’s waited tables at legendary Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, and held positions at restaurants across the country including Michael’s in Santa Monica and Geronimo in Santa Fe. Prior to FCHG, he spent 10 years working for Vintner Select, a major wine importer, and distributor carrying more than 2,500 wines from around the world.
Thomas Price, MS
Thomas Price has been in the Hospitality Industry for his entire adult life. Thomas was born in Pasadena, California in 1965. His family moved to Alaska when he was 7. Thomas’ first restaurant job was as a Dishwasher at a diner in Juneau at the age of 14. By 18, Thomas was the day Lead Cook at an upscale burger house called Harry’s in Anchorage. Thomas moved into the front of the house as a Server and Bartender upon turning 21. His passion for wine was instantaneous, (Graham’s ‘76 Malvedos and Stilton did the trick!), and was fueled by a stint as a Server at Zeppo’s, an Anchorage wine bar, and wait shifts at their parent restaurant, The Marx Brothers Cafe.
Thomas moved to Seattle in 1988, where he met his lovely wife, Jessica. Jessica shares Thomas’ passion for food and wine, and they both worked at some of Seattle’s most
notable restaurants of the era, (Dahlia Lounge, El Camino, Etta’s Seafood, The Santa Fe Café and Luau Polynesian Lounge).
In 1997, Thomas and Jessica opened their own restaurant, Luau Polynesian Lounge, in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. In 2004, Thomas and Jessica decided to pursue other challenges, and sold Luau.
Thomas decided to attempt to obtain his Master Sommelier certification, the highest standard for wine and spirit sales and service in the world. Thomas began as a waiter at
Seattle’s Metropolitan Grill, and obtained his Introductory Sommelier certification in September of 2004.
Classically trained Chef and Certified Sommelier Renee Fox is the Chef/Owner of Arable, on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Arable has been nationally recognized and acclaimed for creative food crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Renee spent many years in the Chicago Hospitality arena before relocating to Santa Fe to join the team at Geronimo. After spending a great deal of time focused on her career in the Wine Business she returned to her passion for cooking, first opening a local Gastropub, then Arable. It is at Arable where she has developed an ever-changing seasonally inspired menu paired with unique beverages from around the world. Hospitality is what drives her success.
Heritage Hotels & Resorts Inc.
I was Born in Paris, France, but began my culinary career at a young age in the center of France with my father at the family restaurant in the Loire Valley, where I spent several years apprenticing with my brother Bruno, a butcher-charcutier in Le Mans. When called to serve under the Arms, I was transferred to Baden-Baden, Germany, where he served meals to commanding officers and government officials. I decided to expand my culinary knowledge and moved to Italy, to apprenticed at properties such as the Antica Tratoria dello Sperone, over-viewing the famous horse track of Milan, and also at Villa D’ Este on Lake Como as well at the world-famous Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence. I found myself in the United States in 1993 as Chef de Cuisine and later Executive Chef of the Five Star award-winning restaurant La Bruschetta, in Los Angeles, California. In his three years at La Bruschetta, he received several restaurant and individual culinary awards. I later opened my own restaurant, The Gypsy Grill, in Encino, California, wherewee received many exhilarated reviews.
From 1998 until 2008 as the Jonathan Club’s Executive Chef, one of the nation’s leading and most prestigious private clubs located in Los Angeles, California, I was constantly working on the concept of fine dining on a grand scale. In that time, 2005, I was inducted to the Academie Culinaire de France.
I moved to Mexico as the Executive Chef for the El Dorado Royale in Puerto Morelos, Southern Mexico, on the Mayan Riviera. I was instrumental in developing new menus for the Gourmet Inclusive, high-end spa resort, consisting of eight restaurants on the 2.5-mile-long spa resort property.
I returned to California in late 2009 for one of San Francisco’s oldest, most prestigious, private social clubs, The Pacific Union Club, located on Nob Hill.
In 2011, I moved to Rancho Mirage to the Thunderbird Country Club, to reestablish the culinary arena of the first 18 holes ever built in the Coachella valley. In 2014, I returned to Los Angeles to take over the California Yacht Club until 2018, where my wife and I decided to move away from the big city and relocated to New Mexico, in Albuquerque. I took over the kitchen of Hotel Chaco and LVL5 and since 2019 was promoted as Corporate Chef for the Heritage Hotels & Resorts group, overviewing 11 properties. I cooked for many notable people, including United States Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, Reverend Billy Graham, first Secretary George Shultz, and more. He was invited to prepare the cuisine for Pierre Cardin’s 50-year Retrospective of Fashion and received Chef of the Year 2003 by the Club Culinaire. Now 54, I am a member of the Club’s Chefs Institute, Professional Chefs Association and was the President of the Club Culinaire of French Cuisine, California Chapter, for three years. I was inducted to the Académie Culinaire de France and knighted the rank of Chevalier of Merit Agricole by the French Government in 2005.
William Davis started in restaurants at the tender age of 15 in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. A career in economics was not as fun as working the floor, so he stayed in the hospitality industry both in Texas and Denver, Colorado. He realized that wine and spirits was his passion, and when he sat for his Introductory Exam and Course with the Court of Master Sommeliers over 15 years ago, his ‘wine bug’ was set in stone. In 2004, he decided that a full-time career with Charmer-Sunbelt in Colorado was necessary to pursue a greater understanding of the grape, and received the Certified Specialist of Wine, the Certified Specialist of Spirits, and the highest certification from the Society of Wine Educators, the title of Certified Wine Educator (CWE). Restaurants were still ‘in his blood’, and the dedication that sommeliers give to their craft is a vital part of bringing wine to the consumer, so he passed the Certified and Advanced Sommelier exams in 2007 and 2008 (on his first try), and is working to achieve his MS with the Court of Master Sommeliers. The academic approach to wine and spirits also interests him, and he obtained the Advanced Certification with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in 2010, and is studying for the WSET Diploma. If that isn’t enough, he is a member of the Guild of Sommeliers, and was the 2 time Regional Champion in the Central (2012) and Central-Great Lakes (2013) of TopSOMM, a competition to find the best sommelier in the United States. As a co-host of WineGuysRadioand TV from 2008 to 2012, he decided to focus on the consumer in late 2012 by introducing TerroirRadioto teach, educate, and mentor industry folk including retail buyers and sommeliers, and share the love of wine to all. Currently he is the Director of Education for Wilson Daniels, one of the leading importers and marketers of wines and spirits in the United States. He has led seminars and moderated events across the country, including Santa Fe Wine and Chile, Taste of Vail, the Denver International Wine Festival, the James Beard Foundations’ Cruise Series, and the Park City Food and Wine Classic. Sitting with winemakers and traveling the wine world is essential to his continued growth. After all, having a glass of vino with the most interesting people on earth doesn’t hurt!
Chef/Partner Paloma Restaurant Santa Fe
Nathan is chef and partner of Paloma Restaurant. Growing up in Austin and Santa Fe, Nathan has worked in several acclaimed restaurants in both cities, as well as New York. Currently focusing on Mexican-inspired cuisine, Nathan emphasizes the integrity of ingredients and the craft of cooking from scratch.
Growing up in the American Southwest, my home always smelled of roasting chiles, simmering beans and free garden herbs and vegetables; these ingredients found their way into every dish, down to the salsasand salads accenting the meal. The food at Paloma pays homage to ancient Mexican cooking traditions, while incorporating the innovative vibe of Santa Fe. In the Southwest, Mexican cuisine and culture are inextricably ingrained in the identityof our food. At Paloma, we take those Mexican influences, examine them, and bring them into the spotlight. As ac chef, I find it easy to make meaningful food when I understand the story behind it. New Mexico’s historic farming practices and seasonal bounty drive our menu at Paloma. By treating the ingredients with respect and a simple approach, we enjoy Turing local New Mexican ingredients into memorable Mexican-inspired dishes.
Paloma is a vibrant restaurant with a Mexican-inspired menu of lively, modern dishes. Everything I our kitchen is made from scratch; our recipes are authentic, with fresh interpretations of regional Mexican cuisine.Paloma is mezcal and tequila focused, with a festive selection of agave-based cocktails, as well as a full bar to provide classic cocktails, beer, and wine.We will welcome you with the warmth, kindness and energy we yearn for when we think of Mexico.
Nationally recognized as the chef of the renowned SPQR in San Francisco, California, (a Michelin-starred restaurant from 2013 through 2015), Matthew Accarrino has been a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: West and Food & Wine’s Best New Chef of 2014.
Born in the Midwest and raised on the east coast, he moved west to California in 2007. His unique culinary style draws inspiration from his Italian heritage, personal experiences and classical training with some of America’s best chefs. Coupled with the embrace of the bounty of opportunities California ingredients present and a strong belief in direct sourcing, producing, even playing a role in the creation of his own ingredients, the results have been an intensely personal cuisine that is both technically polished and soulful.
It’s a cuisine that has garnered praise from publications such as Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Saveur, The Wall Street Journal, Food Arts, Plate, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, 7X7 and SF Magazine.
Under his direction, SPQR was recognized with a Michelin star in the 2013 and 2014 guides. Since his arrival there, Accarrino has been named Star Chefs “2010 Rising Star” for his “innovative vision, finesse, and deeply satisfying cuisine,” and in 2011 he took top honors at San Francisco’s Cochon 555 competition.
Accarrino has been nominated three consecutive times by the James Beard Foundation as a semi-finalist for “Best Chef: West.” Food & Wine Magazine named him “People’s Best Chef California” in 2013 and editorially selected him for the prestigious “Best New Chef” award in 2014. He is also the co-author of SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine.
Master Sommelier Joseph Spellman has been a steady presence in the Chicago dining scene since 1979, as professional sommelier, restaurant manager, wine writer and educator.
In 1996 Joe successfully completed all three stages of the prestigious and difficult Master Sommelier Diploma. In 1997, representing the United States, Spellman finished first of 24 national champion European, Asian and North American sommeliers when he won the International Grand Prix SOPEAX du Sommelier, the most recognized sommelier competition in the world.
He now carries the title “Le Meilleuer Sommelier du Monde en Vines et Spiritueux de France,” only the second American to ever achieve this distinction. Joseph’s accomplishments notwithstanding, he still believes quite simply that most wines go with most foods, that a half-full bottle is better than a half-empty glass and that it takes a lot of beer to make good wine.
A sought-after speaker nationally, The Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta is pleased to celebrate Joe’s fifteenth anniversary of hosting our Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta Seminars.
Chef/Author, San Francisco
Laura Werlin is one of the country’s foremost authorities on cheese. She is the award-winning author of five books on the subject, is a sought-after speaker and spokesperson for consumer and trade organizations, and is a frequent television and radio guest. An expert in cheese and wine pairing and American artisan cheese, Werlin received the James Beard award for her book The All American Cheese and Wine Book, which was the first of its kind in America to focus entirely on cheese and wine pairing. Her newest book centers on America’s favorite sandwich – and hers – grilled cheese. Grilled Cheese, Please! Her previous grilled cheese book, Great Grilled Cheese, was the winner of the World Gourmand award for best cheese book in the world. In addition, Werlin, whose passion is American cheese, wrote the ground-breaking The New American Cheese. And in 2007, her book Laura Werlin’s Cheese Essentials, won a prestigious James Beard award nomination. Werlin is known for her approachable, yet authoritative, teaching style and is frequently asked to conduct cheese and wine pairing, cheese education, and cooking classes across the country. She is also a regular instructor at The Cheese School of San Francisco. When she isn’t talking about or eating cheese, she can be found jogging on the streets of San Francisco, where she lives.
Werlin is known for her approachable, yet authoritative, teaching style and is frequently asked to conduct cheese and wine pairing, cheese education, and cooking classes across the country.
Chef/Owner Sazon Santa Fe
Originally from Mexico City, Chef Fernando Olea has been enthralling diners in Santa Fe since 1991 with his unique interpretation of contemporary and traditional Mexican dishes. Chef Olea creates sophisticated flavors using Old Mexico’s indigenous and culinary traditions alongside ingredients from around the world. His menu is deliberately small, featuring fresh and locally sourced produce and meats when possible. Nothing evokes the mystery of Mexican cuisine more than mole, a regional dish from the heart of the country. The origin of Mexican mole is mysterious. Some say it was an Aztec delicacy served to the Spanish conquistadors. Others say 16th century Hispanic nuns created it. We’re not sure of the origin, nor can the original recipe be defined! In Old Mexico each cook has their unique mole recipe often handed down generation by generation. Mole is a sauce of complex flavors that usually includes toasted and ground spices, seeds, nuts, chocolate and chile. Many mole recipes contain more than thirty ingredients and some recipes have five varieties of chile alone. Moles can be defined by their color such as rojo, verde, and negro; the town they are from such as Puebla, Oaxaca, Michoacan; and social class, such as pobres and ricos. Chef Olea is delighted to share his moles that include his “New Mexican Mole” that he created to commemorate Santa Fe’s 400 year anniversary in 2009. The large mural in the main dining room, painted and presented to Chef Olea by Federico Leon De La Vega, a well known artist from Mexico City, illustrates all of the ingredients found in this mole.
Chef/Owner The Compound Restaurant Santa Fe
Mark Kiffin, celebrated Chef/Owner and author of The Compound Restaurant, won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award as Best Chef of the Southwest 2005. The Compound is Santa Fe’s premier restaurant with Chef Kiffin’s acclaimed seasonal contemporary American cuisine derived from Santa Fe’s rich heritage of regional and Mediterranean influences. The New York Times, Gourmet Magazine, Wall Street Journal and Wine Spectator have all selected the Compound as Santa Fe’s favorite. Chef Kiffin re-opened The Compound, a long-time beloved culinary presence located in the heart of Santa Fe’s cultural Mecca, Canyon Road, on May 30th, 2000. The restaurant celebrates his 50th anniversary this year with Kiffin owning it for the most recent 15 years.Through Chef Kiffin’s diligence and dedication, the restaurant has been reinvigorated, has reclaimed its original stature as a leading destination and is currently one of the very finest restaurants in the region. A recognized leader in Southwestern cuisine, Kiffin has developed a unique and exciting signature contemporary American menu, focusing his seasonally-evolving menu on true regional ingredients and New World influences deftly combined with the culinary style and flavors of the Mediterranean.Kiffin opened Zacatecas Tacos & Tequila in Albuquerque in 2013 and it was a James Beard Semi-Finalist for Best New Restaurant.
A recognized leader in Southwestern cuisine, Kiffin has developed a unique and exciting signature contemporary American menu.
Chef Rocky started his restaurant career in the dish area of a French bistro in his native Santa Fe. His first chef and mentor, Jean-Jacques Alexandre, noticed a spark in young Durham and offered him an apprenticeship.
Chef Rocky went on to get his degree in Classical French Technique in Portland, Oregon. Armed only with his knife roll, Durham traveled and worked in some of our nation’s food capitals.
In 1999 he moved to London to head up a small restaurant group named after his beloved home town. In three years there were Santa Fes in eight British cities. While in the U.K. Durham wrote and presented two television series; Plates From The States and South Of The Border.
Durham has worked professionally on five continents.
Chef Rocky has found a home at The Blue Heron at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in gorgeous La Cienega, New Mexico, just outside of Santa Fe. There you can enjoy his particular brand of New American cuisine marked with and abundance of local products and Durham’s playful nature.
Executive Chef Restaurant Martín Santa Fe
Restaurant Martín is the embodiment of a of a 20-year dream to create the perfect balance of refined and comfortable. Chef Martín Rios and his wife, Jennifer, envisioned a certain ambiance where people from the community as well as Santa Fe’s many visitors could enjoy Chef Rios’ award-winning progressive American cuisine. Martín and Jennifer are long-time Santa Fean’s with a commitment to locality – Martín volunteers for Cooking With Kids, and Jennifer is president of The Horse Shelter. This family-owned restaurant caters not only to well-heeled tourists, but to their friends and family. Chef Rios, a native of Guadalajara, grew up in Santa Fe, starting in the restaurant business as a 17-year-old dishwasher, eventually working his way up to Executive Chef at several restaurants and hotels. Chef Rios received his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America and supplemented that with experience and training in some of the world’s most honored restaurants and with well-known culinary masters.
...with a commitment to locality Martín volunteers for Cooking with Kids