Chef José Rodriguez has a strong connection with local culture in Santa Fe. Now commanding the kitchen at La Casa Sena, he spent the previous twenty-six years in the back of the house of most of the major fine dining institutions of the city. His lengthy career in Santa Fe began back in 1990 when he started as dishwasher in the Coyote Cafe. Building a relationship with Mark Kiffin allowed him to advance to prep and line cook, and eventually he worked as a sous chef for the opening of Swig and reopening of Palace Restaurant and Saloon. With a passion for originality and reinvention, he worked with numerous restaurants and types of dining. His resume includes years spent at Compound, Geronimo, Cafe Solera, and even three years of management at Whole Foods and seven years at Southside Cafe on the Plaza. Most recently he worked at Eloisa and taught cooking classes at Capital High. His career is one of diversity, originality, and myriad local influences.
As for his plans for La Casa Sena, he means to unify the wine and food into one unique experience. “The food has to be equal to the wine list. It has to be the same quality, with elements of fine dining.” He intends to change the menu frequently, with an eye towards balancing local ingredients and more global influences. Looking to infuse the menu with different elements to partner with the restaurant’s diverse wine list, “the food will be unbounded by one culture.” And in both sourcing ingredients and creating beautiful food, Jose Rodriguez has a deep appreciation for cultivating a local clientele. “I just want to bring the locals to the table, and give them what they want. I want them to enjoy themselves, and have a great experience.”