Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily features area chefs in a new series called “Meet Your Chef” so you can learn more about those who create art in the kitchen. If you are a local chef and would like to be a part of this chain, please email Tricia Swenson ([email protected]) and Sean Naylor ([email protected]).
Q: What is your name, where do you cook and what is your official title?
A: My name is Angel Munoz and I’m the Executive Chef at The Westin Riverfront, which includes Stoke & Rye, a new modern American grill, Lookout lobby bar and Riverfront Market. I’m also responsible for all food served in the resort’s 7,500-square-foot mountain event space, which includes the 4,000-square-foot Riverside Ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning views of Beaver Creek and a 2,000-square-foot lot. Square outdoor banquet balcony.
Q: How long have you lived in the valley and what brought you here?
A: I was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. I started my culinary career in San Diego and moved to Vail Valley over 12 years ago. I came here for a degree in the Sustainable Food Program at Colorado Mountain College. I was hired as a cook at The Westin Riverfront in 2012 and worked steadily my way up. I was named Executive Chef in 2018.
Q: When did you first realize that you wanted to be a chef?
A: Cooking has been a big part of my life since I was a kid. I like to eat a lot. But I am also excited to work every day with amazing and talented people and be a part of something unique and special.
Q: Who has inspired you throughout your culinary journey?
A: I can’t name just one person specifically, when you are in this profession you admire different working styles and cooks at different levels. I admire those who can cook great meals and those who can do that and have a great personal life too. But I’d like to say, recently, that I’m looking forward to Ryan Hook as a leader, mentor, and Frances Mallmann on the subject of outdoor cooking.
Q: What are your favorite spices?
A: I will say ingotie and black pepper. Accurate for a variety of culinary styles that can be done – you can use it in marinades, in tortillas and in proteins like pork, chicken and fish. Black pepper because of its history and what it represents as one of the most important spices around the world.
Q: Favorite protein?
A: I love seafood – grilled scallops, Baja-style fish tacos, fresh tuna and our mountain trout crudo are all favourites. In the new Stoke & Rye menu, we’re introducing a giant 52 oz. Flame-filled tomahawk steak in moonshine whiskey and served with charred lemon, roasted garlic and black pepper sauce. It is absolutely amazing!
Q: Favorite fruits and vegetables?
A: As a good Mexican, I would say chile, tomate and cipola. Lately, I’ve been embracing different types of heirloom mushrooms and carrots.
Q: Name your carbohydrates: pasta, potatoes, rice, polenta, etc?
A: Corn – It’s great to cook with, from dry grains to delicious fresh tortillas.
Q: What is your favorite comfort food?
Q: Is there anything else about you that we should share?
A: I love to hike and cook outside, so summer is definitely my favorite season here in Vail Valley. This is a great place to become a chef, we have a very special opportunity to cook for our friends and neighbors as well as for people from all over the world. Plus we live and work in this amazing multicultural community!