Contemporary Indigenous Gastronomy
The study of food and culture of the Indigenous North America, with a particular focus on contemporary methods, to create Culinary Art.
Executive Chef Ray Naranjo
With roots from tribes scattered across North America including Tewa (Pueblo), Odawa, and Crow Nations, Executive Chef Ray Naranjo bridges the modern Native American and American food experiences with creative passion and admiration for the life giving elements. Ray’s artistic talent was discovered at an early age and includes a range of medians from Native American flute music to clay sculpture and traditional crafts. Ray’s career in Culinary Art’s started as he earned his degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, Arizona. He continued his education at the top resorts in the southwest including the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona and the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ray’s passion accelerated him to the top, earning his first chef title at the age of 23, at the now renamed Santa Claran Casino. Ray continued to work his way up in the gaming industry to the title of Food and Beverage Manager, and later moved on to open Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino as Sous Chef of the mainkitchen. Ray’s Contemporary Indigenous Gastronomy style was conceived as he studied at Northern New Mexico College in pursuit of a business degree. Although his business degree remains incomplete, Ray’s educational experience solidified his career, as he became Chef of their student farm program, Sostenga. His experience working in the confinements of producing cuisine from only organic produce grown from a small farm challenged his industry teachings and forced him into a deeper connection to sustainability. Ray became Sous Chef of the El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa and 3 months later was promoted to Executive Chef where he currently resides as he continues to develop his Contemporary Indigenous Gastronomy.