John Marcellino draws fans at Roche Brothers, viewers to television show
Though he said the Wampanoag were mainly farmers who grew vegetables, "what really says what the Wampanoag people are is the seafood."
For example, he said "quahog" is the Wampanoag word for "large clam."
A Wampanoag meal prepared by Chef John would include stuffed quahogs, whose texture he takes care to ensure is a bit grainy, like the sand of Mashpee beaches, rather than mushy; tenderloin of venison, traditionally cooked somewhat rare, which Chef John said reflects the interest of hungry tribal members to get on with the eating; steamed whole fish; and popcorn sweetened with honey.
Conscious of his tribal heritage, Chef John said he does a lot of meals for the elders of the tribe, seeing it as a way to contribute the way a carpenter or a plumber might help.
Further, should the tribe, which last year received federal recognition, succeed in opening a casino, Chef John would want to open a restaurant there to be known as Johnny Wampanoag's. Its goal, aside from serving delicious food, would be expose a wider audience to Wampanoag cooking.