Makes 8 small pies Continue reading
Wisdom is often hard earned, but the true testament of the strength of that wisdom is when it is shared and honored from one generation to the next. Nicole Kapnison was 6 years old when her parents opened Yanni’s in 1993. Since 2011, she and her mother, Chris Komis, have used the accumulated wisdom of those 21 years to modernize and progress to keep pace with the shifting restaurant scene. Continue reading
On a bright Thursday morning, a group of six people have set up a temporary camp of sorts at the Hillside Market in Santa Fe, packing produce into boxes and reusable grocery bags. It’s member pickup day for Beneficial Farms CSA, Steve and Colleen Warshawer’s family business. The couple is joined by three volunteers (as well as some of the volunteers’ tiny, adorable children) and Colleen’s son Thomas Swendson, who moved to Albuquerque from Denver three years ago to work for MoGro, a nonprofit mobile grocery store that supports sustainable local food distribution. “I’ve been doing more of the technical side parttime for Beneficial Farms,” he says, “but in the past month, it’s been more handson.” Despite everyone working to a tight deadline, the collective vibe is laidback and friendly. But laidback does not mean slack, as any conversation with Steve quickly demonstrates.
Though not from a farming family himself, Steve knew he wanted to go into agriculture after spending time as a teenager working on a co-op farm located in Georgia. He came to New Mexico in the late 1970s as a junior at St. John’s College; when he finished up that academic year, his path took a different turn. “The land that we live on was purchased with my senior year tuition savings, and I didn’t return to school after,” he says. Thus began the long road to creating a working farm, which didn’t come into full existence until 1993. Initially the land, about 25 miles southeast of Santa Fe, was vacant unmanaged ranch land, and all infrastructure had to be put in place. There was, says Steve, “no water, fences, roads, anything.” Continue reading
I admit that upon moving to New Mexico it took me longer than some to fully embrace the state vegetable. In fact, at the risk of losing my New Mexico residency card, I’ll go so far as to say that I still prefer my pizza and hamburgers to be chile free. Days can go by without a chile appearing on my menu, and my comfort food is more along the lines of risotto or mashed potatoes, sans chile, than it is mac and cheese with chile or a heaping plate of chile cheese fries. Chile has gradually crept into my diet, however, and I certainly don’t stare at the waitress with a blank look on my face and stutter when asked, “Red or green?” Chile rellenos and carne adovada, two dishes unheard of in the East, have become favorites. But I guess I’m kind of vanilla in my chile tastes—I like it on New Mexican food but not crossing over into other cuisines and, beyond the occasional breakfast burrito (usually eaten when there’s a tray of them at an early work meeting), it certainly doesn’t carry over into breakfast.
Blazing a new trail, as Santa Fe Culinary Academy co-founders Rocky Durham and Tanya Story have done with the Academy’s Professional Culinary Program, demands an enormous leap of faith. Careful planning has gone into this venture, but ultimately its future is unknown.
After wending my way through the Academy’s labyrinth of kitchens to the back portal, I meet with Rocky, a born-and-raised Santa Fean, and four of the program’s five inaugural students—Matthew Harman, Susan Hart, Amy Leilani and Brian Tomlinson (the fifth is Peter Hyde)—at a table with a rich patina from years of outdoor use. From where I sit, I face sweeping views of city rooftops and, in the distance, the Sangre de Cristos. The gathered student body harks from many parts of the country, including Santa Fe, and ranges in age from the 20s to the 50s. These students are risk-takers themselves, pioneers in a sense, having made their own leaps of faith by signing up. Right there, they have my admiration. With Rocky and with each other, they have an easy, friendly and mutually respectful rapport. It’s a pleasure to see. Rocky sits across the table from me, looking happy as can be.