Mark Kiffin


Mark Kiffin, celebrated author Chef, and Owner of The Compound Restaurant and Zacatecas, won the prestigious James Beard Foundation award as Best Chef of the Southwest 2005.

Chef Kiffin reopened The Compound, a long-time beloved culinary presence located in the heart of Santa Fe’s cultural Mecca, Canyon Road, renowned for its distinctive style and elegance since the 1960’s, on May 30th, 2000.  Kiffin has developed a unique and exciting signature Contemporary American menu, focusing his seasonally evolving menu on true regional ingredients and New World influences, deftly combined with the culinary style and flavors of the Mediterranean.

Beginning in 1990, Chef Kiffin partnered with owner Mark Miller at the famed Santa Fe-based flagship Coyote Café and later Coyote Café MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where he acted as Corporate Executive Chef.  During his 8-year tenure at Coyote Café, Kiffin co-authored three books with Miller: Coyote’s Pantry (Ten Speed Press, 1993), The Great Salsa Book (Ten Speed Press, 1994), and The Indian Market Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, 1995).

Chef Kiffin co-wrote his fourth cookbook, The Steak Lover’s Companion (Harper-Collins, 1996), with Fred Simon, president and CEO of Omaha Steak International.  Based on his work at The Highlands Inn in Carmel California, Mark has been a featured chef in the prestigious Art Culinaire Magazine and in the book Cooking With the Masters of Food and Wine (Bon Vivant, 1997).Under the attentive, energetic leadership of Chef/Owner Kiffin, The Compound was named “Restaurant of the Year, 2000-2001”, in the Santa Fe Reporter’s Annual Dining Guide and “Best New Restaurant” in New Mexico’s Culinary Magazine, La Cocinita. In October 2002, Gourmet Magazine listed The Compound in its “Guide to America’s Best Restaurants.” Bon Appetit lauded The Compound in the current April 2004 issue, in the Top Tables section: “The Restaurant Reporter; Around the Country and Around the World Where to Go Now”, and Chef Kiffin was recently featured as a Guest Chef for the 17th Annual Masters of Food and Wine, hosted by Food and Wine Magazine, and presented by  Wine Spectator.

Chef Kiffin enjoys teaching and has appeared as a guest chef at numerous national and international food events including, but not limited to, Wolfgang Puck’s Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles, California; Epcot International Food and Wine Festival in Orlando, Florida; The Aspen Food and Wine Festival in Aspen, Colorado; The James Beard House in New York City; Masters of Food and Wine in Carmel, California; the Naples Winter Wine Festival in Naples, Florida; The Four Seasons and Regent Hotels in Singapore; the International Olive Council seminar in Morocco, North Africa – not to mention guesting at numerous prestigious wineries throughout the United States.

Chef Kiffin opened Zacatecas Tacos + Tequila in January, 2012.  After owning a restaurant in Santa Fe for over eleven years, he envisioned a casual restaurant that offers high quality Mexican cuisine featuring recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation – a real Taqueria.