Transcript of "A Day of Indigenous Food with Chef Sean Sherman"
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Welcome, everybody. My name is Sean Sherman. I am one of the owners of The Sioux Chef, a company we started back in 2014. I'm from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and I'm enrolled with the Oglala Lakota Sioux. The Sioux Chef is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and we've been kind of on this Rocky Mountain tour over the past couple of weeks where we're really promoting our work with our nonprofit and our upcoming nonprofit project, the Indigenous Food Lab; so part of the work that we're doing is bringing awareness to Indigenous foods and trying to become a resource for Indigenous education. Part of that work was identifying Indigenous education, which was basically the thousands of generations of knowledge handed down family after family within Indigenous communities, basically giving them the blueprint of how to live sustainably utilizing plants and animals with that knowledge in their communities and in their regions. So we feel like it's a really important knowledge to regain and to utilize everywhere. We believe in the health of the Indigenous diets; we believe in identifying those Indigenous diets of understanding areas where there was agriculture, what kind of seeds were people utilizing, understanding all of the wild plants in those regions and how to utilize them for food, for medicine, and for crafting; understanding wild game and protein usage and how to utilize that; understanding food preservation techniques, cooking techniques, where people are getting salts and fats and sugars; and just really looking at Indigenous food systems as a whole. And we really believe that we're in an era where we should be able to see Indigenous food businesses all across North America, because today we still live in a world where you can visit cities like Chicago, New York, LA, and find zero Native American restaurants, and that's pretty typical across the board; so we want to change that, and we have a vision through our nonprofit of creating the Indigenous Food Lab, which is something that we can replicate and help people grow and help to see more Indigenous food businesses spur everywhere, especially on Indigenous communities that really need that food access and that health available to them. So today we're just going to be doing a little bit of a cooking class. I broke you guys up into five groups. You guys have little slips of paper with ingredients, so we're not necessarily playing by any rules; it's a little bit ambiguous, but I'm gonna help you guys with kind of a vision of what to do with these ingredients and how to put them together. So we're gonna be building out all the Me's and plots for these pieces well demo one up here so we can showcase to the cameras what we're gonna be doing with them then you guys will be a built we'll be building out a whole bunch of small samples that we'll be able to share and also bring up to the people watching us upstairs so each piece is doing it in the style that we really try to do of using only Indigenous ingredients I'm trying to feature Indigenous ingredients from the region that we happen to be standing upon and just keeping the health so the work that we do we've cut out colonial ingredients so we don't use any dairy any wheat flour any cane sugar and we stopped using beef pork and chicken just to prove a point on proteins an alternative protein choices we also have one group that's going to be doing a plant forward vegan option to play with and we'll be working with all these ingredients so we have a whole bunch of fun stuff so we have trout watercress pine nuts sunflower oil summer squashes sunflower sprouts sumac ground elk yuca root morel mushrooms cedar agave rabbit rose hips turnips lambs quarters honey hazelnut spruce duck breasts corn acorn squash dandelion spruce tips and a lot of the stuff we've been able to find from right around this area so it's been really fun to work with these guys to help pull all these ingredients together so we can create a bunch of fun dishes and just experiment with this style of cooking and experiment with health and experiment with culturally appropriate regionally appropriate foods so we hope to be able to go around Alex has a microphone so we'll go around if we have questions we can raise our hands and she can come to you so we can record what the questions are and just have a really fun conversation so get comfortable with your group get to know each other a little bit I'm sure you already have but I'm going to go through and explain what we're going to be doing with each with each one in just a second so you guys have a bunch of trout that's pretty well clean we're gonna have to open up a lot of packets I think right we'll check them for bones but I think they should be pretty clean we're gonna need a food processor for the water crust so we're gonna make a really simple water a pesto out using just pine nuts sunflower oil the watercress a little bit of the agave syrup and a little bit of salt okay and that's what's going to go into the pesto and then we're going to need a mandolin and we're going to or us spiralizer one of those too maybe whichever one you have and then we're gonna be making a raw summer squash salad and we're gonna be seizing that with sunflower oil some sprouts sumac and salt so it'll be a couple of different pieces so there's the trout there's the which are just gonna bake oh I should have had some we might get some cornea or something right yeah so let's get a little cornmeal and we'll make some cornmeal and sumac to make a little dredge for that and then we'll bake all that trout off okay so we'll add that to that list so she's gonna help you guys find all the ingredients and start maybe breaking up who can be working on some of the different pieces here does that make sense okay all right guys are good any questions all right don't do it then yeah okay yeah if you wanna throw up mix some sunflower seeds into it it's fine if you guys wanted to try and use the burr mixer and zip it up a little bit maybe that might help incorporate it a little bit better so they have that little hand blender people are using it around so just ask around see if we could get it a little bit more smooth but then it's just gonna get tossed anyway so won't matter that much but go ahead and see if we can get it smoothed out a little bit [Music] and then just get all your ingredients ready to build a plate a little after 2 all right you guys are all grouped - right all right so you're gonna help them finding all this stuff so what we're gonna be doing is we're going to be shredding the yuca root so you gotta peel it first and then run it through just a shredder right make sure it goes right into water so it doesn't Brown up right away so the inside of the meatball is gonna be the we're gonna chop up the yuca root the morel mushroom and cedar and those pieces are all going and then we'll add a little bit of agave and salt to that mix and then for some reason the elderberries didn't get on this list we're gonna rehydrate the elderberry with some water and some agave so first we'll just rehydrate the lot of the elderberry so just barely cover it with water and start getting that cooking we're gonna add a little bit more water to it if we need to and we're just gonna make a really simple sauce we use a burr mixer and just zip it up real quick when it sets done once it's rehydrated so we're just making a really simple elderberry sauce but we can start working on all of the pieces that will go inside the meatball which will be the shredded yuca root the morel mushroom and the cedar so chopped sliced and shredded okay and the groundout we can pull out last to mix all of that mix in so if you guys want to start getting those ingredients and working on those pieces we can get those elderberries probably going for get the rest of it moving you're going to want more water in there for sure yeah I would fill it up so it's just like maybe just covering it [Music] that looks good yeah then get a rubber spat don't use metal on this end yep exactly and that's going to get mixed into the meatball mix when you guys are all said and done if you want a bigger knife are you okay with that what's that so when we cook these just make sure it's a little bit of a higher heat so they Brown on the outside and then let them sit and rest a little bit so they kind of cook through and a little in the middle I would say 400 because they're pretty big I usually do them smaller so they cook through all the way just keep them consistent yep keep them consistent so you guys are you have some duck breasts some corn is it cold corn do we know let's find out if it's whole corn or shredded and oh they're whole corn it's okay so and roasted squash so maybe what I'll do is we'll roast the squash we can just do hat like have them seed them and then just roast them till they're tender because we're just gonna be using the pulp so you can leave the skin on because they're just gonna come out of the skin anyway that's right we're going to the dandelion and spruce tip we're going to be garnishes the duck breasts we're gonna sear just typical medium-rare sear so you know slice the fat a little bit sear it and then we'll slice those into slices and we're just making little bitty bites so the squash and the corn will probably be the base we'll probably mix the squash in the corn together we'll put a little bit of the duck breast over that and then garnish with some of this dandelion and spruce tip so it'll be a really yep so so we're gonna roast it and then just make it into a mash and then well probable but we'll sear the corn so we can just maybe high bake it just to get some color on it just like if we were grilling it or something do we have a girls that's fine high just high bait right just to get some color and then we'll just slice the corn right off and that'll get mixed into the corn and acorn squash mix if you guys want to we can we can play with it because I'm open if you guys have a vision I'm just trying to help you know kind of guide but I'm pretty open so if you guys see a better way or something cool to do with these ingredients just take it and run with this okay so we're gonna be braising down this rabbit and this is something we would have done overnight let x2 but we have an insta pot okay so the first thing we want to do is break up that rabbit get it in the insta pot with a little bit of water a little bit of honey and some of these spruce these big spruce okay and then just get that in there and get that going and you know how to run the instapass right so get the rabbit going and then we're just going to be roasting off some of the turnips we're gonna be making a sauce out of the rose hips so you just add a little bit of water to the dried rose hips and bring it to a boil well season it with a little bit of honey to make it taste good and just a quick berm Ickx to get it into a thick sauce okay nope you're okay I'm gonna go for a little bit you might even need a little bit more water a little bit so it's keep an eye on it yeah and they're gonna want to see up just dump that in there yep it'll cook down it gets thick so fast just let it go till it starts to really bubble and then we'll get it buzzed up and then just season it with some sweet yeah all right you guys we're gonna be making some kind of veggie forward salad and we want to be able to do it so it's we can make it in two sample sizes too and we basically are gonna be able to use a little bit of whatever we want from everybody else's ingredients so this cabbage yeah you get to scavenge a little bit so for greens we have watercress we've got summer squash we've got Sun sprouts we got sumac we've got some corn we got some acorn squash dandelions so if you want to do some kind of like squash or yeah but there's some corn that you guys can use I said that there might be some turnip greens you can use and some lamb's-quarter we're not gonna use honey because we want to keep it vegan and we want to eat so we can use the agave for for any of the sweeteners and we can look for some of the berries because it should be actually some huckleberries you guys can use somewhere yeah watercress so I got the greens okay so we'll do a mix salad have come some kind why don't we use the pumpkin seed and then why don't we make you have the so you have will crush the pumpkin seed you guys have huckleberry we're thinking about putting that sounds great I'm very which one yep yep yeah they grow they grow all over everywhere so sumac is the tree and there's sumac berries and there's a key few different kinds of sumac across the u.s. this one's staghorn sumac so we have this all over the place in the southwest you see smooth sumac which is a different kind but it's still usable and they're kind of lemony ish so we do one those simple plates so you got the elderberry right that's what this was so let's just throw some of this down on the plate they're your meatballs down some of the cedar I put a little bit of sauce on each one [Music] you can stand behind me anybody you guys think looks good so then what we're gonna do is we're going to make a bunch of little plates using some of these pieces and then serve them so overall pretty simple alright and it's gonna be healthy and good flavors and make it taste like kind of where we are right are you ready so I'll just do the same thing we did it over there but we'll just put a little sauce down on the plate first and a little bit of greens across some of these pretty turnips pretty huh yeah that's fine little simple right so then all we're gonna do now is just plate a bunch of those little plates like they're doing and kind of go from there but overall it's just playing with texture it's playing with colors trying to make foods with things that are around us and just keeping it really simple and since we're not adding any you know eggs or cheese or anything that the plant forward food is really easy to do with this style of cooking so and it just keeps it healthy and people like pretty food right okay all right so you guys break take everything you need back to your station and start making plates like they are over there you can keep it pretty light because the camera likes to see if you - the plates you know yep there you go all right next what do you guys doing next fish maybe just do three pieces just gonna set them angle them out a little bit different a slightly different angles there you go and then what's next you got the garnish [Music] there you go a couple dots on the plate here and there doesn't need much keep it late okay we got the garnishes I can sprinkle it all across it should be good a little bit here and there yeah yeah those tribe tribe lessons are so pretty it's just going to anchor a couple on the plate beautiful you'll want to go for it tentatively okay keep it keep it light and simple because the camera likes to see a lot of the plate underneath and then just keep it really light you know so how are you doing it it's fine just don't go too heavy on anything just keep it light and sparse okay so cuz if you pile it up it won't really see anything so you want to kind of keep it a little spread it works yep so you can put a little bit of here a little bit here and just kind of build your plate out just having fun with it and if you don't like the first round you can do try it again there's no rules so you want to give it a try so I would just do like maybe maybe three or five pieces of duck for this big plate just to make one big showcase plate and then when you're doing the regular I just do like maybe two pieces of duck for the big plate you do like five pieces you know how every sprigs are such a big plate so I can spread it out a little bit why don't you guys mess around with the plating real quick and the cameras in let's gather around here keep this clear whoever's who's going to try the plating and I'm happy to guide you guys if you want okay for once plenty yep definitely so I would just do maybe a couple of big splotches looks like because everything's gonna build around this you know so that's okay to make it look weird at first because it'll all come together once all the pieces are kind of there [Music] all right you know there were some spoons over there [Music] try the sauce sprinkle it around however you want make sure like a little bit gets on the meat pieces over to sprinkle and maybe a couple of these just to kind of anchor and like maybe three or four of them just kind of put them chuck them on there that one's you grab a couple of flowers and make it look pretty [Music] other colors you want oranges all right the orange would be amazing yeah just need a couple here and there to kind of balance it out there you go yeah one Mars pipeline [Music] perfect beautiful all right so you guys can plate it any way you want to on the little squares just do what they're doing just get them on sheet pans build them all out do like 40 of them and that's pretty much it well easy right [Music] the spoon we're good okay so this is all of our stuff so we're just gonna have fun with this with all these little pieces and build a nice plate then you guys are going to do what they're doing getting a whole bunch of little plates on a sheet pan and building out about 40 of them this one's for the camera so we just want to get around and do this so let's just get all these little pieces together sauce rabbit some of these turnips so pretty right a couple of greens here and there these guys you can break apart yaks all these little onion sprites on they're so good right now what else do we have left do it just like a little spruce tip your corner if you're wanting to be a flower in here [Music] [Music] simple right keep it easy so you guys can plate it any way you want to on your little plates just put all those ingredients together make a bunch of those and that's pretty much it all right so why don't you guys just stay a little bit of what you got out of this cooking class and we'll just go down the line so everybody has something to say and then we're going to make sure that we didn't keep this line clear as we're doing this too so we want to make sure that this camera is clear yeah yeah all right so let's start with you to be braver yeah I loved getting to know the flavor of the sumac something I've never used before we've pretty much put it in everything good I don't know I just like the elegant there was so many smell okay well the plate looks beautiful and I mean for us it's just helping people to show them how simple food can be using just a few ingredients and it's fun to put artistry on the plate but it's really the story behind each piece that makes the plate more special you know and all the love you give to each piece as you're building it so that's the most important part so thank you guys so much all right so we have the that's fine all right so we have the elk meatballs right and let's just go down so just let us know what you guys thought of this class and what you kind of got out of it [Music] I've always wanted to use our own I was able to meet with all those flavors I was going to alright well think is alright so we're gonna do the same thing we're gonna talk about your dish we're just going to talk about what you really got out of this because we had the duck the squash the corn the pumpkin seeds we had the the spruce tip kind of puree right I'm in more spruce tip so lots of simple ingredients that blend together pretty cool really pruitt really well right and the plates looks beautiful so what did you guys get out of this Labour's duck but apparently somebody right fine I had no idea yeah so what I really love about this meal was how the decolonization of the diet really allows us to directly connect with the elements that we're serving a daily basis like the Spruce tips I mean that's just you know like the trees in nature the dandelion the grass is below our feet you know we have water and fire elements we fired the corn so it's really beautiful to really work with all of the elements in nature and to be closer to nature and step away from sort of nature sort of Western cuisine and seems to make cooking seniors awesome okay awesome well thank you guys your plates look amazing let's take a picture with everybody all right so let's just do the same thing so you guys have the rabbit with the rose hips the greens some chive flowers and just a really simple dish using a few ingredients so just let us know what you guys got out of this and what you thought about making this plate how again simple the list word and how it all come together to be a really perfect dish I love the roasted sauce I didn't know it had pectin in it so defended it has this wonderful citrusy tons of vitamin C lambs quarters for one the roses were not yeah yeah I love the collaboration [Music] yeah yeah hey that's great we're gonna with everybody here helping him out it's just always amazing to see how beautiful plates he could make with the stuff you just walk out anywhere in fine in this region in other regions you know a grocery store is in a beautiful you guys awesome alright let's get a quick picture with your plate okay so you guys had the salad and it was just trying to use all these pieces because we have so much vegetable even though like we had meat pieces for all these there was so much vegetable which was really the kind of the star and a lot of these dishes right so why don't you guys just talk about how you felt playing with these ingredients and what you got out of this class fine yeah I enjoyed that uh it took a little longer than your average salad that you buy in the store but you know if you're gonna eat that Rishon hole and you're gonna eat healthy then I take a little bit of time but in overall the product the final product is excellent and it tastes phenomenal so that's what I got all right well thank you guys let's take a picture so first off just thank you guys of course for you know hosting this and helping to put so much of this together and just being able to see it just kind of all come together with just a pile of ingredients basically is what it came down to right because we all had no idea what was going to happen cuz we just were confident that these ingredients would find a home and you know we pretty much used every single piece on the menu so why did you guys just talk about your experience with your group and kind of what you got out of making the food and go from there let's give other people a chance to express themselves you know there's an emergency side of this it's really fun to get into so yeah yeah definitely the artsy side isn't something we get to get into a lot so it was kind of fun also chef bill kind of likes real old-school there with the handwriting and then also chef Deanna and I got to go out and forge a little bit yeah you want to go back I just enjoyed and see it all the joy in the room and all the smiles everybody was learning something new and creating something really special. It's awesome.
Thank You, Chef, for coming. [Applause] That's great to bring some local ingredients together; local people just being able to experience this with other people they don't get to experience very often; seeing their reactions to using these ingredients is great for someone like me to see, and I'm sure just walking outside and looking around, it just opens your eyes up to, you know, new ingredients that you're not wasting. All right, well, thank you guys so much; it was a lot of fun, and we'll get to see a bunch of this video down the road, but, you know, just thanks for being a part of this, and let's go enjoy it! [Applause]