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The Krider Prize for Creativity was awarded to Lois Ellen Frank by the UCDA Foundation. The Prize carried with it a financial award which Lois used to present the Native-inspired lunch during the 2011 UCDA Design Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

A Santa Fe, New Mexico-based chef, author, Native foods historian and photographer, Lois Ellen Frank was born in New York City and raised on Long Island, New York. Her first career experiences were as a professional cook and organic gardener.

Lois spent over 18 years documenting foods and lifeways of Native American tribes from the Southwest. She has worked with world-renowned chefs, scientists and academicians and published many culinary posters and cookbooks. She has worked with National and International advertising agencies as well as many editorial clients.

Lois received her Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from University of New Mexico in May, 1999, where she focused on the importance of corn as a common thread to all Indigenous tribes throughout the Americas.

She continues to be involved in research on foods, including medicinal and spiritual plants, as well as working on projects focusing on the importance of traditional foods amongst Indigenous Peoples throughout the Americas, as sustenance and their uses ritually. Her Ph.D. thesis examines contemporary Southwestern Chefs using indigenous ingredients in their cooking and how this is representational of their own identities. She works with Native American & Non-Native chefs combining traditional ingredients with contemporary techniques. A big part of her dissertation work includes the senses, the ethno-aesthtics of food and food presentation, and food as being representational of local identities. She uses her strong photographic background with her learned academic knowledge to publish books, museum exhibitions, and papers on this subject.

She is a featured cooking instructor at the Santa Fe School of Cooking where she teaches about Native American foods of the Southwest. Most recently, Lois has started a Native American Catering and Food Company named Red Mesa. Red Mesa cooks for private events, parties, weddings, corporate meetings and gallery openings as well as Native events and organizations all over the United States. Red Mesa combines Native American Culture and Cuisine by providing patrons with the history of the foods from the Southwest Indian Nations the two chefs serve. This gives their patrons a unique fine-dining experience.

New Diplomats: Krider Prize recipient Lois Ellen Frank leads culinary exchange as diplomacy.

Photo of Lois Ellen Frank at the UCDA Design Conference by Matthew Lester.