While a barbecue master for a small catering company, with the nuptial season filled with 350 guest wedding celebrations. We were busy, professional as we had the process down to a science with our exceptional interpretation of Santa Maria style barbecue.
Typically offering delicious tri-tip, grilled quarter chickens, fabulous salads, local farm fresh veggies, heavenly garlic bread and whatever the client selected as a festive libations. Easy-peasy as a festive meal for a few hundred people was concerned, it was fairly easy to buy provisions, set up, prepare, clean up and there was always lots of leftovers.
“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” ~ Julia Child
Working with a 12 foot b-b-q trailer towed behind our catering van, we used only seasoned red oak and after you got the fire just right, I could coordinate 40 tri-tips and 60 chickens cooked to perfection. There was simply a feel to cooking for large parties and having adopted an attitude of “why not and what the hell” from my friend Julia Child, I took to the experience as if I had been doing it far longer than just a few months.
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ~ Julia Child
I actually love to cook and the more the merrier as far as I am concerned which brings me to describe an opportunity recently presented to me.
A buddy of mine has recently taken over the operation of a struggling historic hotel in central New Mexico. Twenty funky, yet comfortable rooms including some western themed suites and all are adorned with early American indian decor and western antiques.
What is even more exciting is the soon to be transferred operation of a sixty-five seat diner-cafe restaurant, which I am excited to be involved in the challenge of managing, cooking and yes, barbecuing. After all, it’s in the middle of New Mexico cattle country and it’s also the only place in Mountainair where you can order a beer or a glass of wine.
A rather spooky place actually with quite the following of ghost hunters, a recent report from the Southwest Ghost Hunters Association with some pretty eery photos and mysterious recordings available.
New Mexico is the “land of enchantment” and the air is filled with a presence of ancestral apparitions especially when you visit the many early American Indian ruins. What interested me more about moving to such a small town was the easy access to Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque, Ruidoso and the neighboring states of Arizona, Colorado and Texas.
For the novice chef, I am intrigued by the local indian, mexican and cowboy cuisine, not to mention all of the varieties of chilis grown in New Mexico. There are wineries with vine heritage going back to the Franciscan monks who traveled north from Mexico to bring Christianity to the Indians.
Needless to say, I am excited about this adventure and when you throw in the chance to become involved with cattle ranching, rodeos, the mystery of New Mexico and the friendly people there, I am ready to move east and into the wild west.