2017 Food Fights Chef Bios

David SellersDavid Sellers
Street Food Institute Program Director
Dave began his culinary career twenty years ago, while living in New Hampshire and completing a B.A in Philosophy from Plymouth State University. Dave started as a baker in an all-organic bakery where he developed a deep appreciation for sustainable, local, from-scratch cooking. These pillars became the basis of his cooking philosophy. Dave moved on to cook in San Francisco and then Santa Fe, where he spent ten years as chef of the venerable Santacafé. Dave then opened his own restaurant, Amavi, to critical acclaim, where both the cuisine and the wine focused on the Mediterranean region. Most recently Dave turned his culinary exploration to New England where he spent four years as the chef of Maxfish, delving deeply into the world of fish and farm-to-table dining. Regional cuisine and teaching have always been a top priority for Dave. He has traveled extensively in both Europe and the Far East researching local cuisines.

 

 

 

Fernando RuizFernando Ruiz
Executive Chef, Santacafe
Chef Fernando Ruiz has been a sous chef or executive chef at other top restaurants in Santa Fe, including Rio Chama, La Boca and Inn of the Anasazi. He became executive chef at Santacafé four years ago. Born in Phoenix and raised in Mexico, he grew up watching his mother and grandmother cooking, the rich smells of posole, menudo and barbacoa filling the air. He said he wanted to be a priest, but instead was drawn to the gang life. Pretty soon he was running drugs and guns, living the high life with women, cars and lots of money. “I made life hell for my mom and dad,” “I spent my 21st birthday in jail, sitting in a cell with three other guys. I asked myself if this was what I really wanted or am I going to turn it around,” said Ruiz, now 39. “When I got out of jail, I went straight to culinary school in Scottsdale. “I haven’t looked back. It just kept getting better and better. You can say food saved my life.”

 

 

 

Christopher CookChristopher Cook
Chef, Sister
Christopher Cook, known as Cookie to most, was raised in Bloomingdale, Ohio. He spent his early years exploring the Appalachian foothills with his small group of friends. At 18 years of age, he left home to attend school at the Columbus College of Art and Design. There he attained a bachelor of fine arts degree before moving to New Mexico. In Albuquerque, Cook began his culinary career. Quickly rising through the ranks of the kitchen he started to take notice of the finer details. To satisfy his curiosity he decided to learn more about food. With the help and support of his wife, Cook has been exploring fields from hunting and gathering to gardening and livestock. Applying what he learns from these experiences, in conjunction with his time in numerous kitchens makes him the chef that he is today.

 

 

Chef Rafael ZamoraRafael Zamora
Chef, Vintage 423
Chef Rafael Zamora was born and raised in San Diego California. He has been a chef for the last 16 years, but has spent over 28 years in restaurants industry. Chef Rafael is most passionate about working with seafood, southwestern and French cuisines. He started his career as a dishwasher at The Marriott in San Diego CA in 1989, and has worked as a chef in 14 different states across America. Chef Zamora specializes in integrating Latin American flavors with the experience of fine dining. Chef Rafael has participated in several other challenges including Chef Knockout in 2010, Season 1 of the 505 Food Fights and the Latino Food Festival in 2017.

 

 

 

 

Carrie EagleCarrie Eagle
Executive Chef, Farm & Table
Chef Carrie Eagle brings over fifteen years of experience to Albuquerque’s culinary scene as the Executive Chef of Farm & Table, located on a ten-acre farm in the city’s North Valley. Chef Eagle began her career by helping to open one of Albuquerque’s most popular pizza establishments, JC’s New York Pizza Department in 2002. In 2005 she took her culinary passions to the kitchens of Season’s, Zinc and Savoy where she specialized in party execution, which led to her first role as executive chef for the local catering company Taste. In 2010, Chef Eagle opened Albuquerque’s first premium fish and seafood restaurant Desert Fish, which was recognized as Albuquerque’s Best New Restaurant and Best Fish Restaurant in its first year of operation. Most recently, Chef Eagle has been a proud participant in several local culinary challenges and fundraising events including the Street Food Institute’s Latino Chef Competition, 505 Food Fights, La Montanita Coop Celebrity Organic Chef Challenge, Duke It Out, Women in Creativity and others in our fine city. Chef Eagle was one of a handful of New Mexico chefs to compete on the popular Food Network show Chopped in 2016 and won her episode. “It’s thrilling to be part of the burgeoning, ever evolving culinary movement in the 505. We have a growing community of people in our town who are invested in supporting local restaurant business and a group of chefs willing to go all in on the effort. It’s an honor to be involved with others who are passionate about what sustains us all. For the love of the food!”

Josh KennonJosh Kennon
Chef, Fork & Fig
Chef Josh Kennon is a Deming native and local restaurateur. Kennon trained at Le Cordon Bleu and honed his expertise in restaurant kitchens and private chef gigs from Los Angeles to Phoenix. He joined the open market in Albuquerque in January of 2015 when he opened Fork & Fig. While Kennon is a chef by trade, he also enjoys working construction; he even finished the modern eatery’s interior himself, including the rustic tables located in his restaurant. Fork and Fig specializes in fresh food without a freezer or fryer! The restaurant has received many accolades in their first year of opening, including Best New Restaurant by Albuquerque The Magazine.

 

 

Buy Tickets »