In this Indigenous Food focused video, I met:
who each shared with me about their business and perspectives on Indigenous food and culture.
Pei Pei Chei Ow is an Indigenous catering and education company that first began in 2017. Pei Pei Chei Ow (pronounced pe-pe-s-chew), means robin, and is a term Scott’s grandfather used to call him. It was important for Scott to give his business a Cree name.
Scott was influenced into becoming a chef after watching David Wolfman cook on APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) back in high school. At the time, Wolfman was the only Indigenous chef who had a platform on TV. “He would bring in guests, elders, and nutritionists talking about wild game and meat and eating off the land. I would always watch him,” Scott tells me.
“Back then there was no representation for Indigenous people and for me that was a huge deal.”
Scott did pursue culinary post-secondary education, but actually dropped out, because he “was learning all of this French technique but nothing that I grew up with.”
He didn’t see Indigenous cooking in the culinary classes he attended, so pursued business, hotel management, and just cooked more himself before becoming a cook at various restaurants and organizations and then starting Pei Pei Chei Ow.
“My first food memories are sitting around the fire with my kokum and mushom (grandmother and grandfather) and smoking goose and fish. They’d always have a loaf of bannock and Labrador tea on the fire. Those food memories just make me reconnect with my family history,” Scott says.
I loved how Scott explained Indigenous food to me, and why he started his Indigenous catering and education company:
“Every dish we do has a story and has history to it and a lot of culture and I think that’s powerful. It’s medicine. Indigenous food is culture. It’s storytelling. It’s emotional. It’s very political. Indigenous food its from the land. It’s where you’re from—the stories that you have behind those dishes and that connection to family. And it has to be done by an indigenous person.” – Scott Iserhoff, Pei Pei Chei Ow
I’m grateful for Scott for sharing his story and insights with me, and being part of this Travel Alberta video. I also had the pleasure of attending two of Pei Pei Chei Ow’s virtual cooking classes this summer and really can’t recommend enough for locals and tourists alike to seek out Indigenous experiences from Indigenous business owners to support in Edmonton!
Tee Pee Treats Indigenous Cuisine is an Indigenous catering company and restaurant that serves contemporary, bannock-infused dishes. Chef/owner Curtis Cardinal creates all sorts of bannock dishes including bannock bison burgers, bannock donairs, bannock pizza pops, desserts and more—baked, fried, gluten free, all sorts of bannock!
Curtis first started selling bannock out of his backpack in 2011 at Pow Wows in the Edmonton area. His desire to share his bannock with the world grew after selling out at each Pow Wow.
Curtis tells me he hopes Tee Pee Treats inspires Edmontonians and tourists to try Indigenous cuisine, but also encourage even more Indigenous business owners. “To get out there and showcase their talents! There are not enough indigenous foods out there,” he says.
I love his concept too—he would love for Tee Pee Treats to grow into something like a fast casual drive-through bannock restaurant (think like a Tim Hortons but with bannock-infused dishes).
“Bannock in history, this is how we survived. We were given the ingredients for it and we lived off it. The tee pee is where we survived, where we lived, where we prayed. The tee pee is the strength of our people.” – Curtis Cardinal, Tee Pee Treats Indigenous Cuisine
Curtis’ bannock-infused and Indigenous fusion dishes are so fun! I even saw him post about an elk meat Indigenous / Vietnamese pho, which I absolutely need to try.
I’m so happy he’s found success with Tee Pee Treats and think it’s a great addition to Alberta Avenue (though as of writing this, the location there is not permanent). If you get a chance, you have to try Tee Pee Treats Indigenous Cuisine! Join the many raving about Curtis’ food.
“It gives me a sense of pride because we’re here, we did it. We’re getting our food out there to masses of people.”
Thank you to Scott and Curtis for taking the time to talk to me, share their stories and being part of my Travel Alberta video!
GO try their food!! And find other ways to experience Indigenous cuisine and culture, and support Indigenous business owners as you explore Edmonton and Alberta.
And be sure to subscribe to Travel Alberta’s YouTube Channel for more video ideas to explore the province this summer (and beyond!)
My next video with Travel Alberta will be highlighting a wildlife experience with the Jasper Tour Company in Jasper, Alberta!
Note: this post is NOT sponsored by Travel Alberta. I’m working with them as a contractor for video production but not for blog / social media (these are just things I’d share about anyway lol).
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