Meet Our Publishers: Stephanie & Walt Cameron of Edible Santa Fe, Taos, and Albuquerque
We talked to Stephanie Cameron, co-publisher of edible Santa Fe with her husband Walt, about the New Mexican food scene, their favorite edible Santa Fe story, the politics of the local food movement, and more.
1. Before you started edible Santa Fe, what were you doing professionally?
We both were working in the film industry. I had a career in the arts as a commercial muralist, sculptor, and model maker, while Walt spent fourteen years in Los Angeles as a visual effect artist for the film industry. After years on the road with too much time away from family, Walt went to the Travel Channel Academy in 2010 and found his new passion: telling stories with video. I began a successful career in marketing and web design that allowed me to stay at home with our children.
2. What inspired you to start edible Santa Fe?
I spent 2011 photographing, testing, and designing a cookbook in addition to laying it out. It was for a woman based in Sarasota, FL. When I went to shoot the cover photo I said, “This has been the most rewarding thing I have done in years, how do I keep doing this?” She took me to Whole Foods and we pick up edible Sarasota and I immediately knew that is what I wanted to do. I got off the plane, handed Walt the issue and said, “We are doing this.” I reached out to the previous owner, Kate Manchester, and with serendipity and a few meetings later, we bought the magazine in 2012 from her.
3. What has surprised you the most about New Mexico’s food culture?
The most surprising thing about New Mexican cuisine is how steeped in tradition it is. It is a culmination of thousands of years of Spanish, Mexican, and Native American flavors that when combined create a taste that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The local food movement in New Mexico embraces these flavors and they come through again and again on farms, in restaurants, and in products. When Dan Barber did a local book signing in Albuquerque a while back when promoting his book, Third Plate, he made a statement that North America’s only cuisine was Southern food. Everyone in the bookstore stood up in opposition to him and begged him to spend more than a day in our state so he could experience New Mexican cuisine. Until you try it, you don’t know how different it is from the cuisine of Mexico. Most tend to lump us in with Mexican food, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.
4. If you could interview one person for your magazine, who would it be and why?
The two upcoming primary winners for the Governor’s seat in New Mexico. We won’t know who these two are until next summer, but interviewing any politician is important to us. Until food policy changes, and our leaders consider food as part of their platform, it will be hard for the local food movement to be sustainable. As the leaders in the local food movement here, it is our responsibility to continue to push this conversation at all levels of government.
5. Tell us one of your all-time favorite stories you've published in edible Santa Fe.
This is a very hard question to answer. Because I do 90% of the photography for the magazine, I am lucky enough to get to meet almost every single person we write about. All the stories are so amazing in their own way. If I had to pick one, it would probably be our recent story about farming legend and Bean Queen, Elizabeth Sebastian. Long before local food was a trend, she was growing high-quality, rare-variety vegetables and selling them local chefs.