1. Give a brief overview of your background and how you came to your current position as the Food Editor at The Weekly Alibi.
I like to say that I've always been a writer—it's just that I only recently started getting paid to do it. Before I began working at the Alibi about two years ago, I had an interesting mosaic of employment: I worked at an antiquarian bookstore in San Francisco, produced a puppet show in Chicago, and was a radio DJ in Houston for a summer, just to name a few. When I first moved out to Albuquerque from California a little over two years ago, I picked up a copy of the Alibi and saw that they were looking for new writers, so I applied with the few clips that I had from various pop culture websites I'd written for over the years. I know, answering an ad in the paper—pretty old school, right? Although I didn't get the editor position I wanted then, they liked my writing enough to bring me on as a freelancer. Honestly, I was so over-the-moon about getting that first paycheck for something I wrote, I wasn't too upset about it. I spent a year and change writing freelance stories for just about every section in the paper before they offered me the Food Editor position in September of last year. Since then, I've been trying to give a voice to Albuquerque chefs, farmers, bakers and food people of all stripes in my section.
2. New Mexican food is the obvious staple cuisine, but do you see any other cultures or styles dominating the industry in Albuquerque right now?
We have so much good Vietnamese food here! An Hy Quan is a favorite at the Alibi office, and I love the banh mi from Banh Mi Coda. There is also, obviously, a culture of third wave coffee shops (Prismatic, Humble, Deep Space) that's growing at a rapid rate. I love both of these things, because it shows that Burqueños are opening their minds and their palates a bit, and caring more about where their food and drink comes from.
3. Extravagant and imaginative food, alongside over-the-head recipe videos, have taken the internet by storm. Do you think these will continue to trend? What other communications trends do you expect to see in the food and beverage industry in 2018?
I love recipe videos, because—let's be honest—I'm much more likely to eyeball the amount of each ingredient they're using in a video and replicate it than actually measure anything. I hope recipe videos continue to be a force for good online and in my kitchen. Other trends I'd like to see? More chefs and food publications crafting recipes that use heritage crops from the place they live and work in. For instance, Chef David Ruiz at the Pueblo Harvest Cafe made a whole "Pre-Contact" menu last year, based off of foods historically cultivated and caught in New Mexico before Spanish conquest. That's about as local as it gets, man. I'd also love to see more immigrant chefs championed in the media (and yes, I'll be holding myself to that), because the national culinary scene owes so much to the contributions of immigrants that have historically not gotten the spotlight—or the wages—they deserve.