Chef Edgar Beas may seem too young to be executive chef of Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi in Santa Fe—recognized as a top destination worldwide by leading travel organizations and magazines, including Condé Nast Traveler, Forbes and AAA—but don’t confuse his lack of grey hair for absence of culinary expertise.
A graduate of the San Diego Culinary Institute, Baes began his formal culinary career as a line cook at Addison Restaurant in San Diego. He then joined El Bizcocho as chef de partie, and later trained in Spain at Martin Berasategui Restaurant, where he learned from acclaimed Spanish chef Berasategui himself. Upon his return to the U.S., Beas held the executive chef position at San Francisco’s Chez Papa Bistrot before transitioning to Madera, the Michelin-starred signature restaurant of Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, California. During his tenure there, chef Beas honed on his development of new dishes that elevated vegan and gluten-free dining while integrating seasonal produce from Northern California.
Since his arrival to his latest post in The City Different, Beas has lead the talented culinary team in the hotel’s renowned Anasazi Restaurant, Bar and Lounge, continuing to innovate in the kitchen with new seasonal dishes emphasizing the vibrant flavors of the Southwest. We recently had the pleasure of sampling a tasting menu of his unique dishes—like the perfectly seared foie gras with dehydrated red chile and dark chocolate atop toasted brioche, served with a side of juniper berries cooked in gin and lavender, and garnished with nasturtium flowers—and to chat with the driven chef.
The Daily Meal: What would you say is your utmost guiding culinary principle?
Chef Edgar Baes: The main focus for me in cooking is perfecting techniques and highlighting ingredients. I believe that sourcing local quality ingredients is key in creating delicious food. I strive to approach food with respect and a deep appreciation for execution.
You are known for your imaginatively complex gluten-free and vegetarian dishes—what interests you most in creating these "specialty" plates?
I really enjoy cooking with vegetables. They have an amazing variation in taste and texture, and are also visually appealing.
What is your favorite ingredient you have found in Santa Fe that you haven't been able to source anywhere else?
Edible flowers, tiny leaves, fresh seeds, and the fresh piñon that we harvest.
What about Santa Fe initially attracted you to cook here? [pullquote:right]
Moving to Santa Fe was such an incredible opportunity for me. Not only am I able to move forward in my career and lead the kitchen at a highly regarded restaurant, but am also able to explore new culinary styles and try different ingredients that I never worked with before. The culture in Santa Fe is so vibrant and interesting—unlike anything I’ve ever experienced—and that has inspired me to be create new dishes and cooking techniques for our menus, and the people couldn’t be more welcoming or supportive of what I’m doing here at the Anasazi Restaurant.
What has surprised you the most thus far in your time in the kitchen at Rosewood Inn at the Anasazi?
Coming from Northern California, I was exposed to an abundance of produce that I didn’t expect to find here in Santa Fe. However, the high level of ingredients that I’ve found while working with local farmers has exceeded my expectations.