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February 8, 2019 10:27 AM   Subscribe

First Course: In 1992, Wet’suwet’en chef and hereditary wing chief Andrew George, Jr. was on the first team of Indigenous chefs to compete at the Culinary Olympics. He has been working to get Indigenous cuisines into restaurants ever since.

It was after midnight and Andrew George was exhausted. He’d been chopping, slicing and steaming in the harshly lit, windowless kitchen since eight that morning. He knew that if his team was to stand a chance, he had to forget about the fatigue. Unlike some of the other more-seasoned competitors, neither George nor his four teammates had ever competed at the Culinary Olympics. The kitchen was in chaos – pots bubbling on the stove, frying pans sizzling, his teammates dashing to the walk-in fridge.

posted by poffin boffin (5 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I had no idea about this story! I work at a college with a great culinary program, and I can't wait to share it with some of the chefs on faculty here. Thanks. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:15 AM on February 8, 2019

Metafilter gold
posted by infini at 12:30 PM on February 8, 2019

I found the parts about the Oolichan trade quite interesting. In law school, we had to read parts of a Supreme Court decision that hinged on how extensive the trading practices of the Nations were prior to contact with European colonizers, but having a less dry, legal perspective on the scope of that trade is fascinating.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:32 PM on February 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thank you for posting this article--I particularly appreciated the way it talked about the Indian Act and the importance of land and territory to indigenous cuisine.

When I was an undergrad at UBC, my Canadian Lit prof took our class to see a production of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, and the reception caterer was Toody Ni. It was the first time I had ever eaten traditional indigenous cuisine, and it was delicious. This was 27 years ago (the same year Andrew George went to the Frankfurt Culinary Olympics described at the beginning of the article) and I still remember the food I ate at that reception. Later, I would pass by the Toody Ni building on East Hastings on the bus every day when I lived in East Vancouver.

About oolichan: oddly enough, I actually grew up eating oolichan because my Singaporean mother used to buy it from the First Nations fishermen who sold it to people as they waited in line for the Albion Ferry. It reminded her of fish she had grown up eating, and we ate it as often as she could procure it. I thought it was delicious. I've never had the fermented grease, though; my indigenous students and friends tell me it is an acquired taste (which means some of them think it's delicious and some think it's disgusting). I hope one day I will get to try it.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:56 PM on February 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Well, that made me hungry.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:23 PM on February 8, 2019

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