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.