Taos' El Monte Sagrado has a new executive chef

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Cristina Martinez has joined the El Monte Sagrado Resort & Spa in Taos as its new executive chef. 

Martinez, a Native New Mexican, opened her own catering company at 18 years old, according to a news release by parent company Heritage Hotels & Resorts.

“Inspired by European, French and Asian influences, Martinez honed her skills at Le Cordon Bleu in California, where she graduated with honors. She brought her talents back to New Mexico and has worked in a culinary capacity at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, The Lodge at Santa Fe, Pueblo Harvest Café, and most recently, served as the executive chef of Albuquerque’s Artichoke Café for the past four years,” the release said. 

Martinez plans to source ingredients from many local growers as well as begin farming on El Monte Sagrado land. She oversees all culinary areas of the hotel including the De la Tierra Restaurant, Anaconda Bar and the banquet and event catering menus.

“We are excited to bring such a well-known New Mexican chef to provide a new type of culinary experience in Taos,” said Abraham Juarez, general manager of El Monte Sagrado. “Cristina’s emphasis on the freshest, best-quality ingredients, and knowledge of traditional New Mexican dishes, will elevate the cuisine experience at El Monte Sagrado.”

Officials said Martinez collaborated with chef Mark Miller to create new menus at El Monte Sagrado. With more than 30 years of professional culinary experience, Miller is a cookbook author, restaurateur and culinary consultant. He is the force behind the famous Coyote Café in Santa Fe; Red Sage in Washington, D.C.; and Miller’s Wildfire in Sydney, Australia.

Plans call for Martinez to introduce a new menu to De la Tierra in February 2017. The menu will focus on “healthier options and will be changing seasonally and feature a variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.” The new menu will feature the following dishes, among others.

“Taos has a very interesting convergence of cultures,” Martinez said. “I am engaging in exploring the rich Southwestern cuisine of New Mexico I grew up with and sourcing indigenous ingredients of the area to create seasonally appropriate menus.”

The food menu at the Anaconda bar is also evolving, Martinez said, to a theme of “Eclectic from Scratch.” “I am inspired by the eclectic atmosphere of El Monte Sagrado and of Anaconda Bar,” said Martinez. “The new bar menu intertwines that eclectic feel with great dishes using high quality fresh ingredients.” The Anaconda bar features a variety of fresh soups and salads, flat breads and original small plates to share.

Following the debut of the new menus at the restaurant and bar, Martinez is expected to revamp the banquet catering menus at the resort in the spring.

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