About this project
Check out our NY Times Article!!!
(in Print Wednesday, August 17, 2016)
Check it out here: https://t.co/UArLW3oAah
The Sioux Chef - An Indigenous Kitchen
Culture is the weave that holds people together. At the center of culture is food: This is a sacred element which connects family with neighbors, friends, and distant relatives across generations. In our country, we get to enjoy neighborhood Italian or Chinese restaurants, where patrons re-connect with what was the glue for grandparents and their parents before them. Yet, where are our First Peoples foods and accompanying restaurants? What is the Indigenous cuisine that weaves together and builds our original nations of the Lakota, Ojibwa, Iroquois, or Yurok? How strong can culture be, without our Indigenous foods sustaining us, connecting us to our ancestors?
Today, we have an opportunity to celebrate the historic foods of each North American region, starting with the foods of the Dakota and Ojibwa. Under the guidance of Chef Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation, the first all Indigenous Native American restaurant can become this sacred gathering place.
Our First Nations mastered wild edibles, wild game and fish, and refined heirloom seeds that have been domesticated for centuries. With over 500 tribes across the country, these cultures and their accompanying flavors and food systems were diverse and rich. It is time for The Sioux Chef, an Indigenous Kitchen to become a gathering place for exceptional pre-colonial food, a culinary training center for Native peoples, and a new celebration of our American culture.
Be a part of a new relationship with Indian Country. Sit at our table. Pass a bowl of bison with a chokecherry demi-glaze over wild greens. Drink a cup of cedar tea. We have a new history to write over a beautiful, perfect meal.
WHAT WE WANT
The Sioux Chef team wants your help to open the first all Indigenous restaurant featuring the foods of our region, namely the Minnesota and Dakota territories. These are the foods of many great cultures including the Ojibwe, Dakota, Lakota, Hidatsa, Arikara, Mandan, Cheyenne, Crow, Arapaho, Winnebago, Ho-Chunk and more!
Chef Sean Sherman is Oglala Lakota and was born on Pine Ridge Reservation in SD, and one day he asked, "Why is it that you can find cuisine from all over the world in our many great cities, but not the food that comes from right under our feet, the food that is Native to our regions and the Indigenous Peoples?" We want to change that and we want you to help us redefine Native American Foods for the modern world!
After over a decade studying Indigenous food systems and working with tribes from across the country, Chef Sean along with his partner Dana Thompson, and their team are ready to open The Sioux Chef, an Indigenous Kitchen, the first Native American restaurant of its kind. Bringing back the ancient methods of food preparation over wood fire and open Comal grills, The Sioux Chef will be a healthy and authentic family style dining experience.
By raising $100K in equity, we would be able to leverage mission aligned, alternative financing. However, if we can excel beyond this target amount, our success will multiply allowing us to more quickly move towards sustainability including creating a wood fired cooking line, and removing a short term dependence of petroleum. If we are able to raise $150K-$250k, our capacity to leverage matching funds and secure low interest long term loans will allow us to purchase a building to house a sustainable, community space and lessen the inherent risk of the restaurant industry. We are actively searching buildings and locations under the careful guidance of real estate agents in the Minneapolis and St Paul metropolitan area. The more we raise, the less we will need in loans, and the greater our success and impact. This project will be our flagship restaurant with an opportunity to replicate in more regions to showcase the true regional diversity we have with our historical and cultural Native foods.
THE SPACE WE ENVISION
The Sioux Chef, an Indigenous Kitchen is designed to be a community gathering place, requiring at least 4000 sq. ft. to seat a minimum of 100 people for lunch, dinner, and possibly brunch. Our vision includes a multi-use space including a meeting room and a garden, to help our customers with teaching and community experiences. Indigenous foods like native heirloom corn, squash, beans, sunflower, cedar, chokecherry, elderflower, crab apple, raspberry and fir will be showcased. The kitchen must be big enough to house our catering operation and create teaching opportunities. You can see a mock blueprint of our restaurant at this link.
WHAT WE WILL INCLUDE WITH OUR RESTAURANT
The Sioux Chef, an Indigenous Kitchen, will be more than a restaurant. Through our existing catering and education business, we have been traveling around the world showcasing Indigenous food and providing teaching opportunities. We have worked with tribes and their youth, and fed elders in over twenty nations, have flown to India for the Slow Foods World Forum on Indigenous foods, Italy to cook at the James Beard American Restaurant at the World Fair Expo and New York City for the United Nations.
We have already established a brand that is based on combining the best of our Northern American Indigenous foods with community building. Consequently, our space will have community meeting space and room for Chef's Table. We will continue to partner with our existing network of other executive Native chefs, to hold dinners, which would celebrate and showcase the cuisines of other tribal regions. We will host weekly rotations of regional and national Native artists, singers, dancers, storytellers, poets, and chefs, connecting our cultures with food in the way they have always been linked and celebrated. We will continue to celebrate and showcase seasonal selection of Indigenous teas. Our outdoor space will be critical, complete with a patio and outdoor grill/Comal to share the traditional preparation of our foods.
HOW WE PLAN TO SPEND THE MONEY
The funds raised will secure business loans and economic development funds to purchase a building within the Minneapolis / St Paul area. Remaining funds will be used for operational costs including labor and marketing, and cash flow towards break-even. Much of Indigenous culture and our history has been eradicated from the fabric America. We welcome you to be a part of the force celebrating our strength and highlighting our tenacity and wisdom. This is an opportunity to invest in the The Sioux Chef, an Indigenous Kitchen.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SIOUX CHEF TEAM
Slideshow of a year in Indigenous Foods with The Sioux Chef team...
UPDATE: Check out our NY Times Article!!!
(in Print Wednesday, August 17, 2016)
Check it out here: "The Movement to Define Native American Cuisine" By Tejal Rao
MORE PRESS LINKS HERE:
Risks and challenges
This is a lifetime of research and testing of ideas culminating in launching this dream. With your help and patience, The Sioux Chef, an Indigenous Kitchen will become alive and lead the future of Native American cuisine to preserve and showcase the foods and culture of Midwest's Native Americans.
Restaurants are notoriously risky enterprises. However, the national climate is ready for this concept, a deeper notion of farm to table, increasing the concept further, thinking woodlands to table, lake to table, prairie to table has existed for centuries and with our already established success within the marketplace we are ready to bring this back. We have been humbled by the attention of NPR, Art Culinaire, Thomas Keller's Finesse Magazine, Cowboys and Indians, The Guardian UK, Mic.com, 2015 Expo, and James Beard. Through this regional, national, and international support, we have grown a successful and profitable catering business to service international customers, while garnering over 10,000 followers on social media.
With your support, we can house this cusp of potential in the right location, in a rich urban Indian community of Minneapolis/St. Paul in a building designed for teaching, serving, and creating community. If our Kickstarter is unsuccessful in raising the minimum $100k we need to begin, then we will have to reassess our strategy and make a calculated decision, the more we raise above our goal, the more freedom we will have to create the space and extend our impact.
Food is culture. It connects us in new and important ways. Come, be a part of The Sioux Chef, an Indigenous Kitchen. Experience Indian Country in ways that previously have been impossible. Invest in the next generation of Native chefs. Invest in a food concept that is innovating the field. Invest in more than farm to table. Invest in lake to table, woodlands to table, prairie to table. Invest in more sustainable practices and the wisdom of a People that continues to deepen our relationship with environment. Be a part of a movement. WOPILA. (Thank you in Lakota).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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