The Talent

Anastacia Quiñones

Modern Mexican

I like to give people what they want by making the food I love. Yes, they are eating enchiladas and queso, but they are crab and poblano enchiladas as opposed to red chile sauce with cheddar cheese.

I'll give you your queso and chips but with three types of handmade cheese and fresh ground corn tortillas!

The Dish:

Hometown: Dallas, Texas 

Culinary Training:  The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY


Q & A With Chef Anastacia Quiñones

Q: Rate your cooking skills from a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest) and why?

A: 8.  I rate my skills at an 8.  I'm still learning new ways to do things and the kitchen is ever-evolving.  I feel I have a very strong endurance on the line and can withstand pressure and patience which I believe is key to being a successful and respected chef.

Q: Tell us about the moment you fell in love with food:

A: I was at a catering with my mother when I was 19.  I hated going because I felt embarrassed that this was what my mother did.  On this one occasion, I had to be out front with her when I was usually prepping in the back.  I got to see how happy my mothers' food made everyone and how complimentary they were.  I began to see her in a whole new light.  She worked very hard for those compliments but always stayed humbled.  I wanted to be just like her after that.  She said even if I was going to only sell tacos and enchiladas, they had to be the best in Dallas.  I'm still striving for that!   

Q:  How would you describe your food philosophy or point of view?

A: I used to think that my idea of food was always correct.  Working on Henderson Avenue proved me wrong.  I learned that just because you like what you like doesn't mean people will follow.  At the end of the day there has to be a balance between creativity and running a business.  So, I give people what they want by making the food I love.  Yes, they are eating enchiladas and queso, but they are crab and poblano enchiladas as opposed to red chile sauce with cheddar cheese.  I'll give them their queso and chips but it's with 3 types of handmade cheeses and fresh ground corn tortillas.      

Q: If you were chosen to run our restaurant for six (6) months, how would you describe your menu concept (ie: modern American, Asian fusion, etc)?

A: Modern Mexican 

Q: What is the hardest cooking situation you have ever been in? Have you ever had a disaster in the kitchen? How did you recover?

A: I once walked into a new kitchen with about 10 cooks.  I knew nothing about the menu or recipes.  I was to change the menu in a week and retrain the staff.  At 4:30pm, all of my PM kitchen staff walked out due to rumors that they would soon be replaced.  We had over 200 on the books.  With a pantry cook, a dishwasher and a food runner, we put out 240 covers.  I had only worked the line on one other night prior to that.  I wasn't proud of some of the food I put in that window, but I didn't give up.  Even when the ticket machine wouldn't stop, I kept going.  A week later, I rehired some old staff and we changed that menu to what it is today.  Some items still remain on that menu and are favorites.      

Q: What are your strengths in the kitchen?

A: I have strong leadership skills.  Because I've been promoted several times at the same restaurant, I know what it takes to be a great line cook.  I can relate to my staff while still maintaining professionalism.  I try my best to lead by example.   

Q: Do you have a favorite chef? If so, list whom and why:

A: Traci de Jardin from San Francisco is my favorite chef.  She taught me that I could do anything in a kitchen as well as a man if not better.  She also taught me about seasonality.  I sortof became a snob about it but you have to admit that watermelon does taste better in July than in December.    

Crimson Shults

Crimson Shults - Wichita Falls

As a portrait artist, I am drawn to beauty beyond society’s idealized, homogeneous confines. The features of a face are more than eyes or a mouth. The face reveals life—the accumulation of a person’s experiences and the embodiment of the character that is forged in those experiences. That’s what I paint: surrender, courage, humility, gentleness, wisdom. Conversely, my abstract paintings are purely superficial. There is no narrative, just a methodical rejection or preservation of brushstrokes, texture and color. I can contribute to, but not control them. It is a process of allowing and wonder.

Current Restaurant Design


Art has been a contstant in Crimson's life.  She has taken art lessons for decades in a myriad of disciplines, including oil and acrylic painting, drawing, ceramics, metalsmithing and sculpture.  She currently teaches pastels and painting through the Continuing Education Department at Midwestern State University.

Q & A with Artist Crimson Shults

Q: Rate your artistic skills on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest) and why?

A:     My current art skills are always a 10 in that I produce work to the best of my present ability.  However, I hope my art career will be prolific and have longevity—in which case—I like to imagine my talent is just now emerging toward a full body of evolving and improving work ahead.         

Q: Who or what is your greatest design influence and why?

A:   My palette was unknowingly established early on by the Technicolor world of Looney Tunes.  Since I see the world primarily through color, I admire artists Fiona Rae, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Beatriz Milhazes for their adept handling of color.  I respect masters Gerhard Richter and Pablo Picasso for their commitment to innovate.  I strive to emulate the steady work ethic of the late George Rodrigue and Lucian Freud from whom I learned the matter-of-fact lesson: If you want to be a working painter, you put color on canvas…and then do it again tomorrow…and the next day…and the day after that.

Q:  How did you get started in your work and what is your earliest memory of wanting to work as an artist?

A:   I was born an artist and a pragmatist and naively believed these were irreconcilable natures.  So, I plowed forward with my seemingly practical life—earned a BBA and MA; rose among the ranks in Fortune 500; toiled as a homemaker for a decade, only to learn the coveted MOTY award was a mythical legend; and wrote four novels, one of which received six whole (glowing) reviews on Amazon Kindle.  Finally, after doing everything else with my life from delivering flowers to catering—all the while relegating art as a romantic notion—I attended Spanish Market in Santa Fe.  My eyes were opened to a community of artists who were making a viable living and doing fulfilling work.  The day I returned to Texas, I committed to being a full-time artist; bought an SUV full of five-foot canvases; and converted my dining room into a studio.  Within six months, I had my first solo exhibit and moved into a professional studio.

Q: What is your unique art point of view?

A:   Whether working on portraiture or abstracts, my goal as an artist is to extract as much and as many colors as possible onto the working surface.  As a designer, I am a proponent of Feng Shui, understanding how environment influences the energy of a space, its inhabitants, and their moods.

Q: What are your favorite art or design styles and why?  

A: I have an affinity for the clean, crisp lines of Mid-Century Modern, but my aesthetic was seeded in the 1970’s milieu of Bohemian Austin.  As such, I have a high regard for structure and minimalism coupled with an appreciation for treasures that are hand-crafted and earthy.  In the same way that I balance color in a painting, I like the juxtaposition of a chrome Eames chair with an African wood carving.   

Q: How would you describe your personal design style, your signature "look?"

A:  Modern Hippie.