If you think you have to go to Las Vegas, Nevada for gaming fun, great dining, poolside cocktails & food, and a weekend destination in a luxurious setting, think again! Just outside of Santa Fe lies Buffalo Thunder Resort with all the fun of Sin City, and a wonderful dining experience, thanks to the new Chef De Cuisine, Edgar Alan Morales. A destination for locals and visitors, Red Sage offers wonderful food and a stellar wine selection overseen by Restaurant Manager Laurie Catizone.
TLM: When did you come to Santa Fe, and what brought you here?
EAM: I arrived in Santa Fe June 8, 2015 to begin the next chapter in my culinary career at the Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder. I had worked previously with the resort executive chef Luis Quezada in Las Vegas and he recruited me to join the culinary team and take the lead at Red Sage.
What was your last job before coming here? What were some of your previous jobs? (Casinos in Vegas, fine dining, etc.)
My most recent career assignment was a French Bistro (Chef de Cuisine) in Henderson, Las Vegas, Nevada an independent restaurant which was formative and great fun to work at. Prior to that, I held various culinary position as I developed my skills and broadened my culinary knowledge working at many acclaimed resorts; such as, Flamingo, Paris, Bally’s, The Rio, The Palazzo and most recently at the Aria.
Where are you from, and when did you start working in the culinary arts?
I was born in Durango, Mexico, I began working in the culinary arts at the age of 16 at the Rio Suite Hotel & Casino Las Vegas Nevada, which was a really popular place.
Did you go to cooking school or learn on the job? Where?
Every day is as if I were in school, I believe every position offers unique opportunities to learn and develop professionally. A couple of my earliest positions; for example, the Rio Suite Hotel & Casino I was the Banquets Saucier. This is where I felt I made some of the greatest advances in my knowledge and skills in the culinary arts.
What inspires your cuisine?
I am passionate about delivering a memorable guest experience and embracing the regions native ingredients, flavors and textures. Working side-by-side with likeminded Chefs who share their commitment to cooking and creativity and who take great pride in their profession is what drives me and my cuisine.
What do you hope to accomplish at Buffalo Thunder – what are your goals for Red Sage?
I hope to receive as much as I give to the culinary team at Red Sage. I focus on showcasing each culinarians talents and passions; offering them the opportunity to contribute and collaborate on a dish as well as the menu direction. I am fortunate enough to mentor, coach and develop my Red Sage colleagues and as a collective we are singularly focused on letting the community know what great food, wine and service experiences await them on their next visit.
What are some of the dishes of which you are most proud?
Each of Red Sage’s dishes is one of my own, a labor of love and it would difficult to choose a single favorite. We have been fortunate to prepare a menu which is very well received and nearly all dishes garner their fair share of popularity and praise from our discerning guests. A great deal of thought, preparation and tasting goes into each and every recipe, we have included several recipes from the TravelerInfoHub, simply because when we tried them we immediately knew our guests were going to love them. To mention a few that I am frequently asked about; our superbly fresh Sea bass, tantalizingly tender bison tenderloin and our fun and ‘competition grade’ Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown burger come to mind.
Describe a guest’s experience at Red Sage. What are some surprises they might expect?
Red Sage showcases a wine cellar recognized by Wine Spectator and driven by Laurie Catizone the dining room manager and sommelier. Our menu evolves with the seasons, with delicious bison and fine steaks to freshly sourced seafood. I believe we have separated our food experience with our creative presentations, fresh local and regional ingredients and on-point dining room service.
Where do you source your products? (Local farm, etc.)
Tewa Farms of the Pueblo of Pojoaque has been one of our greatest sources of fresh produce during season. We continue to seek local and regional vegetables, spices and herbs from the surrounding area as well.
How does your food reflect your background? How does it reflect New Mexico?
Hailing from Mexico, my food reflects my roots, my passion and commitment to source and incorporate indigenous ingredients delivering authentic New Mexican cuisine. Our local partnership with Tewa Farms, the Pueblo of Pojoaque’s farm, is a fulfilling example of how Red Sage embraces its roots and is committed to the freshest ingredients and sustainability.
If you weren’t a Chef, what would you be doing?
My calling has always been to be a chef; it is my passion, my mission and what I will continue to be.
Anything else to add that I didn’t ask above?
Red Sage continues to push and challenge its team with featured monthly wine dinners. Most recently we hosted a beer dinner featuring a local brewery. More commonly we secure a partnership with a fine winery and create a menu that will show and taste even better when married with the wines. Our holiday feature menus are yet another opportunity where the team’s culinary team’s artisanship is on display. These occasions often have limited availability and we are anxious to introduce ourselves to new guests of Red Sage.