Indigenous

Chefs head to Enoch Cree Nation for 'once-in-a-lifetime' cook-off

Redx Talks creator Cowboy Smithx and award-winning Cree chef Shane Chartrand will host hundreds of guests at the Enoch Cree Nation near Edmonton on Thursday for the Eagle and Condor event, which will bring together eight chefs of various backgrounds to cook foods indigenous to their cultures.

8 chefs of various backgrounds to cook foods indigenous to their own cultures

Chef Shane Chartrand has honed his skills in some of Edmonton's best restaurants. He will co-host the Redx Eagle and Condor culinary event in the Enoch Cree Nation on Thursday. (Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance)

Two friends are teaming up to bring a one-of-a-kind culinary event to the Enoch Cree Nation near Edmonton.

Cowboy Smithx, the creator of the Redx Talks speaker series, and award-winning Cree chef Shane Chartrand will host hundreds of guests on Thursday at the Redx Eagle and Condor event, which will bring together eight chefs of various backgrounds to cook foods indigenous to their cultures.

"Indigenous is a worldly thing, it isn't just a Canadian thing," said Chartrand.

"Also, First Nations, Aboriginal or non, we all have a stake in the culinary world. It's an Indigenous event, but there's a lot of people and chefs very interested in the Aboriginal community. That makes everything more exciting."

Redx Talks creator Cowboy Smithx and chef Shane Chartrand. (Shane Chartrand)
Smithx believes gathering and sharing food is ceremony in Indigenous culture, and that everyone is welcome to the circle of sharing.

A goal of Redx Talks is to be inclusive and honour the spirit and intent of treaties, which is to work together on sharing the land and resources, he said.

From the aspect of reconciliation, the evening of cooking food over open fire pits, and enjoying it under the open skies, is designed to help people connect, Smithx said.

"We're all in this [reconciliation] together," he said.

"This is definitely one of the most diverse spreads you're going to see. It's never happened before — not in this way. This will be the first time we're [Redx Talks] in a First Nation. It's great to bring this to Shane's home territory of Enoch."

Chef coming from Australia

One of the featured chefs is travelling all the way from Australia. Internationally renowned three-Michelin-starred chef Jock Zonfrillo owns and operates Orana, which is listed in the Diners Club World's 50 Best Restaurants Discovery Series.

Zonfrillo's background is Scottish and Italian, but he became fascinated by Indigenous culture and cuisine after moving to Australia as a young man, Chartrand said.

Australian chef Jock Zonfrillo will be a featured speaker at the event. (Submitted by Shane Chartrand)
Chartrand said it is an exceptional treat to have Zonfrillo participate in the Eagle and Condor gathering.

"He's next level. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It will never happen again — I mean, the chances of it happening in Enoch is slim," he said.

Following feature talks by Chartrand, local elder Irene Morin and Zonfrillo, guests will make the rounds to visit each fire pit, spread out on a property in Enoch, to taste the creations of the chefs.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. MT and ticket prices are $50 or pay what you can. More information can be found at Redxtalks.org.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brandi Morin, Métis, born and raised in Alberta, possesses a passion for telling Indigenous stories. Based outside Edmonton, Morin has lent her talents to several news organizations, including Indian Country Today Media Network and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network National News.

now