Chef Crystal Wahpepah on the power of Indigenous cuisine: ‘Native foods are overlooked’

The game meat, corn and berries featured on the Indigenous chef’s menu have helped to launch her overnight success

Out on the sunny patio at Wahpepah’s Kitchen, sizzling plates of bison and deer make their way down a table filled with Native American educators from across the country. The game meat joins other indigenous dishes on the kitchen’s menu, such as leafy salads topped with striped red corn and blue corn mush sweetened with berries and maple.

Chef Crystal Wahpepah, the owner of Wahpepah’s Kitchen and a member of the Kickapoo tribe, is proud to see the gathering. Food is medicine in the Native American tradition, and her Oakland restaurant is all about bringing together Indigenous producers and ingredients – sustainable meats, fresh berries, heirloom corn and herbs – to help people heal.

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