Indigenous Chef Partners with Chef Sean Sherman and Minneapolis Non-Profit to Promote Indigenous Foodways Education and Food Access

Article from Red Lake News:

MINNEAPOLIS – July 18, 2023 -Minneapolis non-profit North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS) and its co-founder Chef Sean Sherman are hosting Navajo chef and author Freddie J. Bitsoie as the inaugural chef-in-residence at the Indigenous Food Lab by NATIFS in Minneapolis. Bitsoie, previously executive chef for the Mitsitam Native Foods Café at the National Museum of the American Indian, is author of a new cookbook, New Native Kitchen, which explores Indigenous cuisine in modern form.

Bitsoie will consult with NATIFS and the Indigenous Food Lab through October 2023 to help further the non–profit’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 valuable knowledge to the NATIFS library of training and cooking videos.

“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 culinary,” says Chef Freddie Bitsoie, chef-in-residence, NATIFS Indigenous Food Lab. “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.”

“Research and development to understand Native ingredients is key to our work – and no one is better equipped to help than Chef Freddie Bitsoie. We are so honored to have him with us – to help Indigenous groups and individuals develop, implement, and maintain Indigenous food enterprises in their own communities,” says Chef Sean Sherman, founder of NATIFS. “These enterprises -from a catering operation to a medicine garden, to a full-scale restaurant, or anywhere in between- will give community members access to healthy Indigenous foods designed to represent their tribe, in their language, using their regional flavors, and will provide resources to grow community gardens, create permaculture landscapes, process and preserve foods. This in turn will create more Indigenous food leaders and processors to plug into our growing network.”

Freddie Bitsoie is a proud Navajo, an award-winning chef, and the author of the cookbook New Native Kitchen. He is the former executive chef of Mitsitam Native Foods Café, located inside Washington, D.C.’s Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and was previously the executive chef of Fire Rock Casino and is the winner of the Smithsonian’s Native Chef Competition. He has contributed to a number of Native American cookbooks, including America: The Cookbook (Phaidon, 2017) and James Beard Award–winner Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen (University of Minnesota Press, 2017).

The Indigenous Food Lab by NATIFS is a professional Indigenous kitchen and training center based around Native traditions and Indigenous foods, covering all aspects of food service, research and development, Indigenous food identification, gathering, cultivation and preparation, to help others start and run a successful Indigenous culinary business.

North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS), founded by Chef Sean Sherman, and its Indigenous Food Lab and IFL Market, a professional Indigenous kitchen, training center, retail space and counter service eatery, 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. For more, visit

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