Creative Mind: Johnny Ortiz

Discover the visionary behind /Shed, a 14-course dining experience that truly is more performance art than restaurant

Can a gourmet meal transcend its ingredients to become a work of art? In the hands of Johnny Ortiz, the answer is yes. Blending his culinary skills, developed at Saison in San Francisco and Alinea in Chicago, with an intense desire to share his family’s cultural history on the Taos Pueblo, he launched /Shed, a 14-course dining experience that truly is more performance art than restaurant. Ortiz produces every element himself, including raising and harvesting the ingredients. Additionally, he crafts all the tableware and even carved the table from a fallen redwood tree.

A dish of native flowers, fresh honey, piñon nuts, and white corn in one of Johnny Ortiz’s micaceous clay bowls. Photo: Johnny Ortiz

Plating technique: “Each pueblo has its own pottery culture; micaceous clay is what Taos is about. I cook in that clay and make all the service ware from it, too. When COVID started, I shifted into making ceramics and now sell them online.”

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Foraging for New Mexico chanterelles. Photo: Douglas Merriam

Bowls crafted by Johnny Ortiz. Photo: Courtesy of Johnny Ortiz

Up next: From March 17 through April 10, Ortiz has a residency at the Stone Barns Center in New York. Plus, he’s moving /Shed from a dance hall to his farm about an hour outside the city, where he restored a 100-year-old adobe by hand during the pandemic.

Nativerose fruit, raw elk and red cap bolete. Photo: Johnny Ortiz

Click here to see the full list of “Creative Minds.”

A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2021 Spring Issue under the headline “Creative Minds.” Subscribe to the magazine.


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