Santa Fe Dining: Meet Luminaria’s Chef Brett Sparman

Chef Bret Sparman left Luminaria in March 2014. He”s currently the Executive Chef at the newly opened Georgia.

Usually, when a restaurant loses a chef, they begin an external talent search. Luminaria, the restaurant at the four-Diamond Inn and Spa at Loretto, looked within. They promoted then sous chef, Brett Sparman to the Executive Chef position. It was a great decision; the Santa Fe dining experience is richer for it. Sparman, a chef who “made my way up the chain with blood, sweat and hard work in the kitchen,” has a flair for flavor.

The Phoenix native got his start at Sapristi Bistro and Wine Bar in Fort Worth in 2001 and worked in various Texas kitchens, including a stint as sous chef at the legendary Nobu’s Dallas branch before coming to Luminaria in 2011.

Santa Fe dining

Luminaria Executive Chef, Brett Sparman, photo/courtesy Inn and Spa at Loretto

He’s taken to his new position like the proverbial duck to water. “I always come into a kitchen like it’s mine,” the chef writes. “I had a lot of free reign here when I arrived. I was pumping out nightly specials, etc. from the day I stepped in the kitchen.” He calls his food, “Innovative Santa Fe cuisine.” He says he embraced a lot of local flavors. He buys locally whenever he can with weekly trips to the Santa Fe Farmers Market during the growing season. He sources meat from local farms including Wagu beef from the Lone Mountain Cattle Company and lamb from Talus Wind Ranch. Servers are educated about produce sources so they can share with diners. Sparman credits a mentor, Chef Anthony Bombaci, for teaching him about “simplicity and letting all the food talk.” Learning new techniques and discovering new flavors to experiment with keep him jazzed about cooking. Being in the kitchen in general keeps his culinary juices flowing.

Santa Fe dining

Brett Sparman’s Seafood Paella, photo/Steve Collins

For him Santa Fe is a “hidden gem of chefs and culture.” He loves being away from the hustle of a big city and being able to take as 20 minute drive to the woods to get away from it all. He spends his spare time (a bit of an oxymoron in a chef’s life) with his wife, Steffani Marie and their two children, 5 year old Ryder Otis and newborn, Ella. And he loves to cook with the family while listening to jazz. Pizza night is a big hit with his son.

Santa Fe dining

Luminaria at the Inn and Spa at Loretto, photo/courtesy Inn and Spa at Loretto.jpg

In keeping with hotel dining tradition, Luminaria, with its Santa Fe inspired dining room and glorious patio offers three meals a day.

Chef Sparman shares his recipe for Shrimp and Chorizo with Santa Fe Travelers’ readers.

Shrimp and Chorizo (Brett Sparman 2013)
Serves 2

8 large tiger shrimp
4 oz chopped Spanish chorizo
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 Shallots, chopped fine
1 TBS Smoked paprika
1 ½ cup w½ cup white wine
4 TBS butter
Chopped Italian parsley

Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat, add olive oil. When hot, add chorizo and shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and shrimp to the pan and cook for a few minutes more, be careful not to burn your garlic, so watch the heat. Remove the shrimp and deglaze the pan with the white wine and let reduce for several minutes, and then add paprika. Finally add a good amount of butter and parsley to make a rich sauce. Serve with grilled bread.


Author’s note: We were wined and dined by Luminaria. Their gracious hospitality didn’t influence this post in any way.



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