Our Staff

David Sellers

Street Food Institute Program Director

Dave began his culinary career twenty years ago, while living in New Hampshire and completing a B.A in Philosophy from Plymouth State University. Dave started as a baker in an all-organic bakery where he developed a deep appreciation for sustainable, local, from-scratch cooking. These pillars became the basis of his cooking philosophy. Dave moved on to cook in San Francisco and then Santa Fe, where he spent ten years as chef of the venerable Santacafé. Dave then opened his own restaurant, Amavi, to critical acclaim, where both the cuisine and the wine focused on the Mediterranean region. Most recently Dave turned his culinary exploration to New England where he spent four years as the chef of Maxfish, delving deeply into the world of fish and farm-to-table dining. Regional cuisine and teaching have always been a top priority for Dave. He has traveled extensively in both Europe and the Far East researching local cuisines.


Tina Garcia-Shams

Street Food Institute Director of Community Relations

Tina, a native to New Mexico, has worked with young people to help them discover their passions and become valuable contributors to their community for over twenty years. She has worked in both the private and public sectors, and brings a wide range of skills to the Street Food Institute. Tina worked as both a teacher and Community Engagement Director at Amy Biehl High School for thirteen years, where she created and implemented a successful service-learning program for staff and students. Tina also spent several years as a Human Resources Generalist and Human Resources Manager prior to embarking on her teaching career. She is enthusiastic about food and excited to bring her experience and skills to the Street Food Institute.


Eric Griego

Strategic Consultant

For the past two decades Eric has worked on economic development issues at the local, state, national, and international level. He has had an extensive political career, serving as an Albuquerque City Councilman, Chair to the State Economic Development Commission, Assistant Cabinet Secretary for Economic Development under Governor Richardson, and State Senator. Eric has championed green jobs and promoted issues affecting small and local businesses for over twenty years. Before leaving to run for Congress, Eric also ran New Mexico Voices for Children, the largest and most active anti-poverty advocacy, research, and policy organization focusing on children and families in the state.

Currently as a consultant, Eric works closely with local governments, foundations and community leaders to redevelop key parts of our city and to create jobs and grow local businesses in some the state’s hardest hit communities. He brings a wealth of experience, expertise, and a deep commitment to local economic development to the Street Food Institute.


Julian Griego

Lead Instructor / Chef de Cuisine, Albuquerque

Julian’s passion for the culinary arts began as a child learning to cook traditional New Mexican foods with his grandpa. This passion lead him to pursue a career in the culinary arts. After graduating with an A.O.S. degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Las Vegas, Julian spent time working as a cook in Las Vegas and eventually as a chef in many fine dining restaurants here in New Mexico. Julian has also worked as a Culinary Arts instructor at Central New Mexico Community College and is dedicated to teaching and instilling a passion for the Culinary Arts.