Chef Walter Dominguez returned to Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda and Spa in June, 2014 to become the hotel’s new Executive Chef. He worked for six years as the hotel’s chef de cuisine before leaving briefly, only to return to take charge of the property’s busy kitchen.
Walter grew up knowing food, first as a child helping in his grandparent’s taqueria in Chihuahua, Mexico, then as a teenager in America who started out washing dishes. Progressing through the ranks and obtaining formal cooking instruction through the Culinary Arts Program at Santa Fe Community College, Walter made his mark at several high-profile restaurants in Santa Fe’s competitive food scene before joining the Amaya team.
Walter worked at the Eldorado Hotel starting in 2000 on every shift and in every position, eventually being promoted to sous chef at the hotel’s Old House restaurant. There he met Chef Martin Rios and followed him to the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi where Walter served as executive sous chef for two and a half years. Walter then started with Amaya.
Walter learned all about chiles–ubiquitous in Santa Fe cuisine–from his grandparents and understands how important what he calls the “chile culture” is to his cooking style. Jalapeños, guajillos, anchos and New Mexican green and red chiles are just some of the varieties used to accent Walter’s creative dishes. He now oversees daily meal preparation at Amaya, banquet service for in house groups and meets the many catering demands from his kitchen for events all over the city. “I like to feel the adrenalin in the kitchen,” Walter says. “It’s the passion that fuels the day.”