Meet Your Chef: Angel Munoz at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa
Get to know your local Vail Valley chefs
Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily is showcasing area chefs in a new series called “Meet Your Chef” so you can learn a bit more about those creating art in the kitchen. If you’re a local chef and would like to be a part of this series, please email Tricia Swenson (email@example.com) and Sean Naylor (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Q: What is your name, where do you cook and what is your official title?
A: My name is Angel Munoz and I am the executive chef at The Westin Riverfront, which is home to Stoke & Rye, a new modern American grill, the Lookout lobby bar and the Riverfront Market. I am also in charge of all food served in the resort’s more than 7,500 square feet of 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 outdoor banquet terrace.
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 cooking career in San Diego and moved to the Vail Valley more than 12 years ago. I came here to earn a degree in the Sustainable Cuisine program at Colorado Mountain College. I was hired as a line cook at The Westin Riverfront in 2012 and steadily worked my way up. I was named executive chef in 2018.
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Q: When did you first realize that you wanted to become 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 passionate about working every day with amazing and talented people and being a part of something that is unique and special.
Q: Who has inspired you throughout your culinary journey?
A: I can’t mention only one person specifically, when you are in this career you admire different styles of work and chefs at different levels. I admire those who can cook amazing meals and those who can do this and have a great personal life, too. But I would say, lately I look up to Ryan Hawk as a leader and mentor and Francis Mallmann on the topic of outdoor cooking.
Q: What’s your favorite spice?
A: I will say achiote and black pepper. Achiote for the variety of cooking styles that can be implemented – you can use this in marinades, in achiote tortillas and in braising proteins such as pork, chicken and fish. Black pepper because the history of it and what it represents as one of the most important spices around the world.
Q: Favorite protein?
A: I love seafood – pan-seared scallops, Baja-style fish tacos, fresh tuna poke and our mountain trout crudo are all favorites. On the new Stoke & Rye menu, we are serving a giant 52 oz. Tomahawk steak that is flamed tableside in moonshine whiskey and served with charred lemon, roasted garlic and a black pepper sauce. It is pretty spectacular!
Q: Favorite fruits and veggies?
A: As a good Mexican, I would say chile, tomate and cebolla. Lately, I have really been embracing different mushrooms and heirloom carrots.
Q: Name your carb: pasta, potatoes, rice, polenta, etc.?
A: Corn – it is fantastic to cook with, from dry kernels to a delicious fresh made tortilla.
Q: What’s your favorite comfort food?
Q: Is there anything else about you we should share?
A: I love hiking and cooking outside, so summer is definitely my favorite season here in the Vail Valley. This is an incredible place to be a Chef, we have the very special opportunity to cook for our friends and neighbors as well as people from all around the world. Plus we get to live and work in this amazing multi-cultural community!