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Friday, July 3, 2009


Santa Fe, N.M.--
The Tree House has a new chef and Kevin Archer is turning out the most scrumptious, organic meals in town. 

Archer is a Certified Vegetarian Chef who most recently cooked at Body Café. Prior to Body, Archer was Associate Chef at Ravens' Restaurant, an award-winning vegetarian restaurant in Mendocino, CA, which like Tree House, serves a menu drawn from locally harvested foods.

He has studied natural cooking at The School of Natural Cookery in Boulder and raw cuisine with Cheri Soria at the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Fort Bragg, CA. In addition to his academic credentials, Archer has extensive experience with world cuisines: his in-depth knowledge of curries is based on time spent in India, and his expertise in Mexican cuisine was gained in the kitchens of prominent Oaxacan chefs.

"One of the reasons I'm excited about working at Tree House is that I'm committed to local, organic foods and local agriculture" Says Archer. "At Ravens' we based all of our dishes on locally harvested products-including many grown in our own gardens. Working with local growers and seasonally available ingredients is something I'm comfortable with-and very excited about."

That excitement is shared by Bustamante-Bernal. "Because we do make up a large portion of our menu each morning, there's a lot of freedom and creativity in our kitchen," she says. "But it can also be very demanding and not everyone is accustomed to working has hard as we do. We're thrilled to have Kevin on board because he's been there. He's got the skills and the knowledge to take our menu to the next level."

So, what exactly can we expect from Tree House's summer menu?

"Initially, we'll be making incremental changes to our offerings," says Bustamante-Bernal. "Because our menu changes all the time anyway, the biggest thing people will notice is the arrival of summer vegetables like kale and chard.  We're also serving a wonderful sandwich made with grilled zucchini, ancho pesto and jack cheese and a delightful curry bowl with roasted cauliflower and snow peas. Local cherries, strawberries, and raspberries are becoming available now, too, so they're making their way into our menu as well.

Kevin will be drawing on his experience and will offer more raw foods and, eventually, cooking classes at the Tree House. The underlying philosophy of the place will remain the same: making great food with local, organic ingredients. It's what they do at Tree House.

And, by all accounts, they do it well. Publications from Gourmet to Budget Travel have recognized Tree House's simple, yet "just plain delicious" approach to preparing fresh, organic food. With the addition of Kevin Archer to the Tree House staff, it's likely that this "Secret Restaurant" won't remain secret for long.

The all-organic, vegetarian restaurant and pastry shop located in the Lena Street Lofts was recently included in "Secret Restaurants of Celebrity Foodies," a list of 50 restaurants worldwide that was published in the June issue of Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine.

NEW LOCATION: The Tree House Pastry Shop & Café is located in the Lena Street Lofts just off Second Street at 1600 Lena Street in Santa Fe, New Mexico. More information is available at or by calling 505-474-5543.

Jennifer Marshall