Hue Chan Karels

We are joy makers who believe in the magic of culinary experiences.

Our passion is to create and curate inspired, original, unforgettable gatherings for the joyful celebration of human connection wherever they can be imagined.

Hue Chan Karels

Hue-Chan Karels is Chef-Owner of Open Kitchen, a unique culinary concept that celebrates the kitchen as the center of sensory pleasure, healthy living, community, learning and creativity. Hue-Chan’s passion for the culinary arts is only surpassed by her desire to bring people together through shared food experiences and share her knowledge and recipes for people to enjoy cooking and create healthy and delicious meals at home.

In 2007, Hue-Chan Karels had the inspiration to make a lifestyle change from her FDA regulatory and compliance consulting practice. She started an artisan cookie business and, within two and a half years, this had grown into Open Kitchen’s unique, multi-purpose space. A decade later, Hue-Chan continues to reimagine Open Kitchen, always finding new, creative ways to build and connect community through the celebration of great food.

Our Team

Open Kitchen’s core ingredients are our team of culinary professionals who approach every event with intentionality to create memorable, joyful experiences for our guests!

Erica Tai

Erica Tai
Executive Chef

As a young chef originated from Taiwan, who’s lived in Hawaii and now New Mexico, Erica has been nourished by rich cultural landscapes and talented mentors. With a great passion in food and culinary arts, Erica has also achieved a Registered Dietitian License in 2020 and now pursuing a Master of Science in Nutrition at the University of New Mexico. Open Kitchen is proud to have this talented chef with expertise in nutrition and culinary arts to create delicious and healthy meals for our guests!

Jane Steele
Events and Service Manager

Jane has been passionate and food and hospitality as far back as she can remember. A west Texas native, she began her food career in Dallas managing events for Two Sister’s Catering. After many years teaching cooking/mixology classes, writing a food column for the El Paso Times and working as a food stylist and personal chef, she relocated to Santa Fe to join The Compound Restaurant as Event Planner. After 6 years, she was hired to as Event Manager for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

She met Hue-Chan Karels in 2019 and they quickly became friends and comrades in the world of cuisine, parties, and entertainment. Jane brings her decades of event experience to Open Kitchen along with a creative and restless mind that is ready to help curate the perfect event.

Leslie Chavez

Leslie Chavez

An accomplished Chef and Patissier, Leslie Chavez prides in a culinary career that has spanned over thirty years. An educator, chef mentor and catering professional, Leslie blends creativity with a comprehensive understanding of culinary protocols. Her experience in restaurant and catering environments has re-enforced Leslie’s standards for excellence, while allowing her to master culinary techniques in multiple disciplines.  Some of Leslie’s accolades include being named Chef of the Year by the New Mexico Restaurant Association when she was Chef at Tecolote Cafe in 2013, and won Best Chocolate Dessert, Professional Baker at the Santa Fe Chocolate and Coffee Festival in 2012.