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Our Chefs

Noe Cano

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Noe Cano, Chef de Cuisine, is an invaluable asset to the School. He does all the food purchasing as well as prep and assisting with the classes. He has been at the School for 17 years.

Noe has worked at many of Santa Fe's top restaurants including La Casa Sena, Coyote Cocina and was chef de cuisine at Hotel St. Francis. He has worked alongside many of the chefs of Santa Fe as well as some celebrity chefs.

He was instrumental in the production of a segment of The Food Networks show called Dinner Impossible, which celebrated the traditional foods of New Mexico.

Lois Ellen Frank

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A Santa Fe, New Mexico based Native American Chef, Native American foods historian, culinary anthropologist, James Beard Award winning author and photographer, Lois Ellen Frank's first career experiences were as a professional cook and organic gardener. Ms. Frank has spent over 20 years documenting the foods and life ways of Native American communities throughout the Southwest writing and photographing many articles and papers on the topic. This lengthy immersion in Native American communities culminated in her book, Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations, which won the James Beard Award upon its release. In 2010 she released, The Taco Table, which won the Glyph Award upon its release.

She completed her PhD dissertation in May 2011in Culinary Anthropology entitled: The Discourse and Practice of Native American Cuisine, Native and Non-Native Chefs in Contemporary Southwest Kitchens, which she is planning to publish as an upcoming book, tentatively entitled, "The Turquoise Plate". Frank partnered with PCRM to teach a series of cooking classes entitled Food for Life: Healthy Native American Cooking in both Santa Fe at the Institute of American Indian Arts, IAIA and Albuquerque at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, IPCC. She is a featured cooking instructor at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, an adjunct professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and the chef/owner of Red Mesa Cuisine with Diné chef Walter Whitewater. Frank is an avid gardener of local cultivated and wild plants.

Alex Hadidi

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Alex Haddi graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York City, NY, in 1996. After completing training he worked for many high-end restaurants in New York City specializing in New American and seafood including Aqua Grill, Tribeca Grill, and Coyote Café under Mark Miller. He also worked as a chef at Cilantro where his focus was Santa Fe cuisine. In 2005 he moved to Atlanta, GA, and taught at the Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. After spending 3 years in Atlanta, he relocated to Austin, TX, to learn more about cooking in the authentic Tex Mex style. Alex first visited Santa Fe in 1999 and was charmed by its beauty as well as its cuisine. He visited multiple times and has now relocated to the area. He is currently working as a private chef.

Tom Kerpon

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Tom Kerpon has worked as an Executive Chef in Santa Fe for over 13 years. He began his Santa Fe culinary career at The Inn of the Anasazi, worked for several years at Rio Chama, and is currently at Tanti Luce 221. Tom has been on the Board of Directors of the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta for 8 years, serving as president for two of these years.

His community works include the Cooking with Kids program (promoting nutritional instruction and cooking lessons to elementary school children), ArtFeast (which donates art supplies to the Santa Fe Public School system) and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Santa Fe.

Michelle Roetzer

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Michelle Roetzer brings 26 years of experience to the stoves of the Santa Fe School of Cooking. Her experience began in the San Francisco Bay Area at the age of 14 rolling pasta for a family friend. She eventually rose to the position of Sous Chef in an upscale Northern Italian Ristorante at the age of 21.

In 1996, she returned to her hometown of El Paso, TX and became Executive Chef of Café Central for 7 years. In 2003, she was the Chef De Cuisine for the Professional Golf Association Champions Dinner in Rochester, NY and has cooked for numerous notables including presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Vicente Fox of Mexico. She moved to Santa Fe in 2003 and is currently the lead instructor for Santa Fe Community College's Culinary Arts program and a freelance caterer for several local catering companies. In her spare time, she is a student of Political Science at Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM, windsurfs, snow skis, mountain bikes, gardens and mentors young chefs.

Allen Smith

Allen Smith, Certified Culinary Professional, brings an extensive culinary background to The Santa Fe School of Cooking. Allen has most recently returned from Dubai, UAE where he completed project management of a new style grocery market that included an interactive café and cooking studio.

He also completed the development of an exclusive Culinary Center, where he established the concept and professional curriculum. Prior to that, he was a Career Program Instructor at The Institute of Culinary Education in New York. He has extensive experience in food styling, recipe development and catering.