at a time
food that encompasses
sustainability and dreams’
WRITTEN BY FRANCIS SILVAGGIOPHOTOGRAPHED BY LAUGHING DOGPHOTOGRAPHY
Food has been a big part of ShaneChartrand’s life ever since he firststepped into a restaurant kitchen andbegan cooking professionally at 17.
He says his hunger for culinary
knowledge has only grown since his
early days in the kitchen. “If I wanted
to continue doing this, I had to think of
another platform for me to succeed,” he
says. “And I decided I would start with
Raised in a Métis family, Chartrand
is Cree by birth and now works as
the executive chef at the River Cree
Resort and Casino on the Enoch Cree
Nation near Edmonton. He says most
Canadian kitchens excel at appreciating
the country’s melting pot of culinary
cultures, with the exception of its own.
“We celebrate every other culture but
Indigenous culture,” he says. “I started
thinking about what my culture is and
how I can celebrate my background,
so I started researching Indigenous
What he learned was that Indigenous
food is about far more than just seal,
whale and native seafood. “It’s about
spirituality, ingredients, sustainability
and dreams, really.”
Chartrand says he was recently
honoured to prepare a chum salmon that
he received from the Haida Nation on
B.C.’s north coast. “The Haida believe
that because the chum salmon is the
biggest grade of salmon, when you ingest
it, your mind, your spirit and your body
become strong because of the strength of
Chartrand has included stories like
this one in his first cookbook, Marrow.
Scheduled for release this spring,
it will feature what Chartrand calls
“progressive Indigenous” food.
It’s all about sharing a taste ofhis culture—and that of other FirstNations—one bite at a time.
“I love the Indigenous community,”he says. “I think the food needs to becelebrated just as well as everythingelse.”|a
Executive chef Shane Chartrand of the River Cree Resort and Casino on the EnochCree Nation has written a cookbook featuring “progressive Indigenous” recipes.