I was born in 1991 in the small town in New Mexico called Taos, where I grew up partially in town and partially on the the Taos Pueblo. I grew up a vegetarian, in a family who really weren't the most prolific cooks and was extremely picky. The firsts tastes of real food I had really blew my mind, exiting me about food for the first time.
I cooked all through out High School, even competing and doing well in competitions, but after graduating High School I was torn as to what to do. Finally making the decision to get a degree in business while cooking on the side, getting the benefits of the great instate tuition while still practicing cooking.
In the Autumn of 2010, I dropped out after my first semester of College and moved to Chicago to learn solely by trade. I applyed to almost every restaurant in the city and on the second day received replies from a couple restaurants, one being Alinea. I staged at both, had received offers from both and obviously choosing Alinea. I was a 19 year old kid who had only worked in kitchens cooking burgers and flourless chocolate cakes. Here I was about to work in one of the greatest restaurants in the world, and I didn't even know it. The following sixteen months went on to be some of the most important sixteen months I have ever experienced. Everything there blew my mind, it opened new ways of thinking not only for the food but down to simple details such as how you should treat a roll of plastic wrap. Being such a young kid with high ambitions I wanted to continue moving up but knew that I still didn't have the knowledge to do so, so I went in search of a place that was more raw in terms of the food. I ended up finding The Willow's Inn on Lummi Island, Washington.
The Willow's Inn was a completely different experience. I had found the complete opposite restaurant. I learned a lot of what I was looking for, learning to forage, how to cut fish and how to be more connected to nature to name a few. At the end of the season there I had ran out of money and was craving that intensity of a Michelin star restaurant again. it was either back to Chicago or to San Francisco. I came to the decision to try out San Francisco. I sent an email to a restaurant that I had been following and romancing ever since I was in Chicago, Saison, and got a quick reply, unlike the first handful of times I tried. I scheduled a meeting for Monday, it was Saturday evening. I packed up my car and drove straight to San Francisco not knowing at the time but Saison was undergoing construction on a new space and because the buildout took so long most of the previous team had left. I made it to San Francisco on the Monday morning and had the meeting later that afternoon. I immediately fell in love with the space, it was raw while refined, it was the perfect mix between my two previous experiences. We talked for a couple hours and all while I tried to not show exactly how excited I was. A few days later I got called back in to talk about my position. I had been picked to for the meat station. This is exactly everything I wanted and needed, I still can't believe how smooth it all worked out.
For the next 2.8 years I gave my heart and soul to this restaurant. It's the longest I have ever stayed at one job. It consumed me. Sleeping on average three to four hours a night. After the first seven months of working there the CDC departed and I was promoted to Sous Chef, then till I left I was the second in the chain of command behind Owner/Chef Josh Skenes, without another CDC joining the team. I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity. Again like my two previous experiences I hit a point I had felt the need to continue growing, only this time through my own expression.
I ended up starting / Shed with then partner Leia Layus in 2015, built and run in our single room apartment in Mill Valley California.
After few strong months we decided to move back to Taos NM at the beginning of 2016 and carry on the project there. While California was amazing, it was quickly apparent that to continue growing / Shed, things needed more substance. Moving back home afforded me to dig deeper into my roots and the landscape I was from, allowing me share a refection of the land that I love and the people/traditions that make it so special. We got / Shed going in NM in September of that same year.
Through all of my travels I've had the privilege to work with so many amazing people and work at some of the best restaurants. I continuously find myself overwhelmed with inspiration. This project is a way for me to document that inspiration and plant a seed for things to come.