Learning from the best

The thing I love most about being home-schooled is that I get to travel a lot and learn from many of my wonderful food mentors about the things that I am very passionate about, like unique indigenous foods, native culture and creative culinary art. Last month my family and I went to the Food Sovereignty Symposium at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI. I was so excited to join this amazing group of indigenous chefs in the kitchen all weekend.


From cooking a indigenous pop up dinner the first night to a small plates brunch and a final banquet, there was an amazing spectrum of diverse foods that the chefs prepared for the conference people to enjoy. In addition to cooking with some of my favorite mentors Brian Yazzie and Tashia Hart from The Sioux Chef,  I got to meet and work alongside some amazing new chefs including Kristina Stanley from Brown Rice and Honey, Ben Jacobs from Tocabe Eatery and M. Karlos Baca from Tastes of Native Cuisine.

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Kristina and Karlos plating for the pop up dinner
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Me plating the dessert course for the pop up dinner

Chef M. Karlos Baca founded the Taste of Native Cuisine, which is “an Indigenous Chefs collective in 2011, and in connection with the Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum, as a means to reintroduce and revitalize Indigenous Foodways through education, foraging, and indigenous menu tastings. His work has been featured on Zagat Foodways: 10 Meals That Define America.”

Karlos plating his dish for the small plates brunch

One of the dishes he prepared was bear root (osha root) corn mush with corn husk wrapped grilled trout.

“Osha or oshá (Chuchupate) is a mountain plant, and can be found in deep, moist soils rich in organic matter at elevations between 9,000 – 10,000 ft. in Taos County, New Mexico and other Rocky Mountain regions of the Southwest. Osha plants form large clumps, and in areas of New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah, can reach heights of 6 to 7 feet. They produce circular colonies with dozens of root crowns growing from a central root mass.”  The bear root added a subtle bitter flavor to the mush that really complimented the corn.”

Karlos is great at combining different tastes and flavors to create an amazing dish and he tells interesting stories!


Kristina Stanley

“Kristina Stanley concocts tempting food- food that inspires nostalgia while encouraging balance. Simple yet elegant food, focused on pure flavors and highlighting quality ingredients.

Brown Rice and Honey is rooted in the concept of supporting health through “back to basics” food, featuring baked goods that are primarily vegan and often also gluten-free. Combining natural sweeteners like maple syrup, agave, honey, banana, and date syrup with organic ingredients the resulting natural alchemy is purely delicious!”

She made delicious cornmeal brownies with a maple drizzle  

She and I worked a lot in the kitchens and I really enjoyed her personallity and her willingness to mentor me and her baked goods are phenomenal!

The dessert course, wild rice cake with stewed berries and a maple foam

Ben Jacobs

Tocabe first opened its doors in December 2008. Tocabe is the only American Indian owned and operated restaurant in Metro Denver. The restaurant setting is a clean, warm, open space with connections to American Indian cultural elements, infused with a contemporary atmosphere.Tocabe takes it origin from Grayhorse: An American Indian Eatery, established in downtown Denver in 1989 by the Jacobs family. The Jacobs are tribal members of the Osage Nation. Tocabe uses some of the same recipes from Grayhorse and has expanded on Osage family recipes to create a new and unique take on American Indian cuisine. Tocabe is owned by Matt Chandra and Ben Jacobs.”

I love Ben Jacobs’  vision to bring indigenous food to the mainstream culture through his restaurants!

Not only are these chefs talented at what they do they are also wonderful people! I am so excited to see and work with them again at The Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit

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