Born to Cree parents and raised by a Métis father and Mi’kmaw-Irish mother, Shane M. Chartrand has spent the past ten years learning about his history, visiting with other First Nations peoples, gathering and sharing knowledge and stories, and creating dishes that combine his diverse interests and express his unique personality.
The result is “tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine,” a gorgeous book that traces Chartrand’s culinary journey from his childhood in Central Alberta, where he learned to raise livestock, hunt, and fish on his family’s acreage, to his current position as executive chef at the acclaimed SC Restaurant in the River Cree Resort & Casino in Enoch, Alberta, on Treaty 6 Territory.
Chartrand grew up in rural Canada where his adoptive father taught him to hunt, fish and stay true to his Enoc Cree Nation roots. When he was 14, he started washing dishes at a local restaurant; by 17 he worked his way to working as a line cook. He graduated from Northern Alberta institute of Technology and began running franchise restaurants, but felt it wasn’t quite his calling.
He decided to change course and began working at some of the best restaurants in Edmonton, including Hotel McDonald, Sutton Place and Union Bank, experiences which led to his current role at River Cree Resort & Casino as executive chef. He also teaches cooking classes to Native youth and is a member of the Alberta Ate Chef Collaborative.
Containing more than seventy-five recipes ― including Chartrand’s award-winning dish “War Paint” ― along with personal stories and interviews with friends, culinary influences, and family members, “tawâw” is part cookbook, part exploration of ingredients and techniques, and part chef’s personal journal ― a visionary book that will invite readers to leaf through its pages for ideas, education, recipes, and inspiration.