By Mia Stansby
You might wonder, too, why there aren’t First Nations chefs or cooks in restaurant kitchens, especially as native culture is steeped in creative expression and feasts are central to communal celebrations.
Acknowledging this, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (slay-wa-tuth) celebrated the first graduating class of its professional chef’s program earlier this week. It’s a step towards seizing opportunities too long untapped.
“Cooking wasn’t a career option before,” says Andrew George the lead chef instructor for the program. “Racism is a cop-out but it’s part of the picture. There’s not a lot of natives involved in the culinary industry and we have a fast-growing population of people under the age of 25. We have always welcomed people to our lands through food. First Nations people work with their hands, they’re very artistic and are hard workers. It’s a perfect fit for food.”
But this is a column about restaurants in Vancouver. It was undoubtedly talking about restaurants that prepare Native dishes using Native recipes. In that sense, there may be only one establishment in Vancouver serving "Native food."
For more on chefs, see Eden Eats Visits Pima-Maricopa Rez and Top Chefs Cook for Hualapai.
Below: "Local chef Andrew George (top centre and aboriginal students, Eugene Crain, (left) and Lawrence George (right) show off their prepped elk dish, lettuce wraps and other tradional dishes, at the Tsleil-Waututh Nation school, in North Vancouver." (Mark van Manen/PNG Staff)