Many Native American chefs work toward bringing their heritage to the table while also designing and opening new restaurants that achieve sustainability as well.
While traditionally, Native American cuisine was traditionally aimed at gathering resources and family, Native American chefs are also working to break down stereotypes of the type of food served by the Native American dining experience and focus more on Native American sourcing and reflecting a Native American perspective.
At Agave restaurant, chef Shoshana Udry tries to produce food from local sources and sustain indigenous food systems and plants. Food is prepared with the knowledge of ingredients and lifestyle styles that are native to each area. At Cattleman’s Daughter, chef Stephen Afson works to practice his shared heritage by bringing his family history and past culinary experiences to the plate.
Native American tribes, and their cooking methods, culture and culinary traditions have been copied in other countries, but continue to enjoy a rich and broad spectrum of American restaurants.
Ethnic food continues to drive mainstream dining in a variety of American cities, and many Native American chefs have been pushing for more diversity in the Native American dining experience and the restaurants that follow it.
According to FoodDrink America, a report released in June by the Food and Beverage Industry Information Council, Native American food sales in 2016 totaled $48.2 billion, an increase of 5.6 percent over 2015, but much less than other ethnic groups.
The report notes that women play a major role in the development of traditional Native American foods such as cornmeal, bison meat, buffalo liver and baby lamb, while also playing a significant role in developing cuisine in the contemporary market.
African-American food, which has been performed by black chefs for decades, has historically experienced greater focus from American restaurants, and Nage, which opened in 2006, has built a solid reputation, serving traditional fish, beef and seafood from the Eastern Shore.
But those meals offered by Native American chefs are moving into new generations.
Agave | Washington, D.C. | www.agaverestaurant.com
Cattleman’s Daughter | Brownsville, Texas | www.cattlemandsdaughter.com
Dauch Farms | St. George, Utah | www.dauchfarms.com
Onondaga Nation | Pittsburgh, Pa. | www.onondagowanowisetunk.com
Yuca Café | Lancaster, Pa. | www.yucacafe.com
SOBB | Los Angeles, Calif. | www.sobbla.com