New Mexico is heavily influenced by both the Native American culture that is heavily prominent throughout the region, in addition to the large influx if immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries.
With this strong connection, the food drastically reflects upon these roots.
If you are looking to start or grow your culinary career in New Mexico, you are going to find it a bit different from most other states throughout the country.
For starters, not only is New Mexico landlocked but, due to the lack of rainfall throughout the year, there are only very specific crops grown throughout the state as well. This limits the kinds of food that can be produced fresh inside of the state. Spice is also the name of the game in New Mexico, as many of the foods utilize the peppers that are able to grow in the region. Both mild and hot peppers are prevalent, but it provides a unique take on Latin and Mexican styles of food. This is because the combination of Native American and Mexican foods have become intertwined here, making a truly unique style of cuisine.
If you are looking to start your culinary career here, your two basic options include Sante Fe and Albuquerque. These are the two largest cities inside of the state, not to mention some of the most culinary offerings as well. The majority of residents who live in both cities are from New Mexico, so there is not a large amount of outside tastes coming into the city. Due to this, you need to either be able to bring a unique style of food, often without a direct line of fresh produce for the specific food type, or be willing to produce the locale cuisine.
This style and flavor of food is going to be something that you either fall in love with or would rather avoid. There isn’t much in between. Additionally, if you are from New Mexico and are looking to begin your culinary education in New Mexico it does include degree programs at some of the local universities and colleges, although there are no specific culinary schools. The pay for culinary arts in New Mexico is also not as high as what you might find in other regions of the country (such as the northeast and Pacific Northwest), but if this is the style of food you desire and the location you want, it is the best option for you.