Navajo chef and author Freddie Bitsoie (Navajo) has been named the inaugural chef-in-residence at the Indigenous Food Lab by North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS) in Minneapolis.
Bitsoie will consult with NATIFS and the Indigenous Food Lab throughout the month of October 2023 to help further the nonprofit's mission to promote Indigenous foodways education and facilitate Indigenous food access, to help develop and grow Indigenous food-based businesses. He will also contribute knowledge to the NATIFS library of training and cooking videos.
He is the former executive chef of Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe, located inside Washington, D.C’s Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. He was previously the executive chef of Fire Rock Casino. He was the winner of the Smithsonian’s Native Chef Competition back in 2013.
Bitsoie is also an author of a new cookbook New Native Kitchen, which explores Indigenous cuisine in modern form. He has contributed to a number of Native American cookbooks, including America: The Cookbook and James Beard Award-winner Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen.
"I'm so honored to join Chef Sean Sherman and his team at NATIFS. This gives me the opportunity to add my point of view as we work together” to define Native American cuisine,
Bitsoie said in a statement.
"I'm looking forward to learning more about the Indigenous foods of the Midwest, as I'm more familiar with ingredients from the Southwest, and to help to continue to progress Native American food culture like other cuisines have progressed."
The Indigenous Food Lab by NATIFS is a professional Indigenous kitchen and training center based around Native traditions and Indigenous foods. The food lab covers all aspects of food service like research and development, Indigenous food identification, gathering, cultivation and preparation, to help others start and run their own Indigenous culinary business.
NATIFS and its Indigenous Food Lab are dedicated to addressing economic and health crises affecting Native communities by re-establishing Indigenous foodways, imagining a new North American food system that generates wealth and improves health in Native communities through food-related enterprises.
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