Chef Marc Quinone at Luminaria at The Inn and Spa at Loretto in Santa Fe, New Mexico, reveals his ideas and inspiration for cooking his favorite Southwestern dishes, his favorite restaurants in town, and how he spends his days off. “When I think of what essential to me as it pertains to Southwestern cooking I immediately think of fresh chiles and corns,” says Quinone. “They are both so versatile and can be employed to a myriad of different dishes. Chimayo chile powder is another must-have. That stuff is magic!”
What is your culinary inspiration?
My inspiration for cooking is without a doubt, the guest experience. Not much more in life (other than seeing my family smile), is more fulfilling than having the ability to feed someone and provide them with a memory that they can cherish.
Your favorite dishes at the restaurant?
My Berkshire pork belly with an Anasazi bean ragout, yellow corn kernels, harissa-sherry reduction, along with the Chilean seabass with wild mushroom risotto, ginger-garlic spinach, and apricot gastrique. The seabass set sells itself with its unrivaled quality and killer texture (if seared properly). And the Pork Belly is basically my love song to my mother, Grace. I grew up poor in the South Bronx in New York City. We didn't have much by way of resources, but my mother would always make world-class meals out of those canned pork and beans at grocery stores, so I always knew that one day I would reinterpret that humble concept.
Where do you eat you’re not in the kitchen?
My favorite off-site restaurants are Izanami and TerraCotta. Izanami specializes in Japanese small plates focused on meat-centric dishes with a super cool chefs’ table to watch all the action. TerraCotta is down-home Southern-style cuisine done right! Their fried chicken is noteworthy.
Your days off?
My family and I go to church, out to eat, and sneak in some shopping. My wife and I also really enjoy traveling to watch football games (go Dolphins!) eat at the best restaurants, go to concerts, and enjoy each other's company.