Farmington company takes Navajo food across the world

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FARMINGTON. N.M. — For one New Mexico chef, food took him on a journey across the world, only to bring him closer to home.

“I have been cooking ever since I was little youngster basically, and so it was kind of natural, got my first job in the kitchen when I was 17,” said Justin Pioche.

Pioche noticed that a fine dining experience was missing in Farmington.

“It just seemed like I knew there was a need for better food,” he said.

So, with the help of his family, Justin created Pioche Food Group.

“We specialize in catering private dining and run a private dining experience called LorAmy and after that it just took off,” General Manager Tia Pioche said.

This family business was booming.

“It started to roll people started to call we started to get more and more business and inquires,” Janice E. Brown, momager, added. “For a mom, you think wow this is really happening.”

It was the start to an adventure.

“We have been able to cook in Colorado, we’ve been up to Wisconsin, we’ve been in Phoenix, and we also recently go back from Italy, and we even helped put on a four-course dinner out there for 75 people in an Italian castle,” Tia said.

But what Justin didn’t know is that food would lead him back to his roots.

“To me, I felt it was important to learn my story. I try to have little notes of our Native American food, but we try to highlight it in a more modern and upscale setting,” Justin said.

Those Navajo flavors with a modern twist carry a heavy burden.

“How important it is to preserve what we have left because it’s dying, our language is a dying art, our food, our farming practices are dying as well and that’s our culture, and it’s really, really important to us because that is our food at the same time and if we lose stories, we are not going to have much left.” 

Pioche Food Group’s next private dining experience will be on Valentine’s Day in Farmington. For more information, click here.