Spice Up Your Meeting in New Mexico – New Conference Food Trends

Planning a conference or banquet? Here’s a peek at what’s new and popular making meals at our New Mexico conference hotels fresh and fun!

Local Flavors, Local Inspiration

Using locally grown or raised ingredients in delicious dishes isn’t a new idea but it is changing the way our guests get to experience our area.photo-1445451983996-ac6b92ffb1fb
Our chefs have partnered with local farmers to present organic and top-quality produce including heirloom tomatoes and spring greens; meats including pork, beef and lamb; cheeses and more. (Learn about green chile, New Mexico’s State Vegetable, and other traditional culinary staples here.) These relationships not only help maintain New Mexico’s long farming and ranching history, but they help chefs focus on the quality and care of their food. When you dine with us, the true flavors of New Mexico shine.

“[We] as chefs are conscious of what we’re buying, where it’s coming from, and how we’re preparing it and how it’s being used for our guests,” says Gilbert Aragon, executive chef at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town.

Ray Naranjo, executive chef at the Taos resort El Monte Sagrado, has developed his own contemporary indigenous cuisine drawing heavily on indigenous ingredients. In Taos, he’s blending these with comfort food to offer high-end creations creating a stir. He plans to build a traditional horno (mud adobe-built, beehive-shaped oven historically used by many indigenous populations in New Mexico) on the property for baking traditional bread.

Hotel Albuquerque Executive Chef Gilbert Aragon

Hotel Albuquerque Executive Chef Gilbert Aragon

Local ingredients don’t just appear on a small scale but large events can keep a local-focus. Eldorado Hotel & Spa has proudly served local produce at banquets of up to 400 guests, and Hotel Albuquerque’s forthcoming new banquet menu will have a section from which a meeting planner and the chef can design an entire event local.

New Mexico is also home to dozens of micro-breweries and vineyards producing award-winning beer and wine. Beer-and-cheese pairings, beer- or wine-themed dinners and beer or wine tastings have become popular events and can be incorporated into conferences.

Limitless Possibilities for Vegetable Dishes

Today, adhering to dietary restrictions and avoiding allergens is no problem and it doesn’t mean a limited menu for your guests. Options like gluten-free granola, quinoa and Greek yogurt are increasingly appearing on menus (and tables), and veg-heavy presentations are getting a makeover.

Our chefs play with their ingredients to create new flavor profiles: Think wild mushroom and spinach cannelloni, roast vegetables and wild rice strudel, soy ice cream, lumpia, grilled pineapple, beet chips and a vast array of vegetable-based dips.

“You can get quite creative using various cuisines such as Indian and Asian [or] Italian,” says Eldorado Hotel & Spa Executive Chef Anthony Smith.

Entire banquet menus at Eldorado can be vegan, and Hotel Albuquerque’s new menu will feature a healthy options section.

Food: Up Close & Personal

When simply enjoying good food isn’t enough to make an event really stand out, our chefs can step out of the kitchen and perform demonstrations or offer interactive dining stations.Catering
Eldorado’s chefs have offered cooking classes and interactive demos, serving appetizers, entrees and burning crème brulees on a large scale right in the ballroom. Interactive stations there feature fajitas, quesadillas, meat carving and desserts. When it comes to creating custom small-plate stations, “really, the world is the limit,” says Eldorado’s Chef Smith.

For his part, Hotel Albuquerque’s Chef Aragon would love to demonstrate how to create some of New Mexico’s traditional favorites this year, like green chile stew. In Taos, future guests could enjoy demonstrations of bread baking using a traditional horno.

“People are a little more educated about food, and that’s a cool thing,” says Chef Aragon.

Planning your event? No matter where your event will be held – from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, Taos to Las Cruces – our hotel teams can work with your tastes and with your budget to create a menu perfect for you. Talk with your group representative to customize your dining experience. There’s no way to go wrong with these conference food trends!

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