THE SIOUX CHEFS
A SHORT DOCUMENTARY ABOUT TWO NATIVE AMERICAN CHEFS REVIVING INDIGENOUS CUISINE
Long before the North American diet was ruled by imported and processed foods — beef, chicken, pork, wheat flour, sugar — Native Americans and indigenous people learned to eat what was available on the land. Oftentimes the terrain was difficult to grow in, but they learned to adapt to the landscape. Included in their diet was game meat, foraged plants and spices (think choke cherries, sage, and juniper), and other native fruits and plants.
While Native American food may be forgotten to most, two Native American chefs are devoted to bringing it back to the table. To Sean Sherman, co-founder and chef at the nonprofit Sioux Chef, it only made sense to return to what people had eaten before on the land for millennia. “Nobody had any sense of what Native American food was,” he said. “It was something I had to figure out.”
Sioux Chef is a collaboration of many chefs, foragers, ethnobotanists, event planners, artists, and more, who come from a number of different Native American tribes. They work with indigenous food producers, who help them source authentic ingredients for catering, events, and a soon-to-open restaurant. You won’t find any of the European-imported staples like beef, chicken, and dairy products on the menu; instead, Sioux Chef serves proteins like venison and river trout, and native vegetables like turnips and blueberries.