Interview with an Indigenous Chef: Jordan Rainbolt

Chef Jordan Rainbolt headshot

Name: Jordan Rainbolt 
Location: Winston Salem, NC 
Education/background: Chef apprenticeship through Johnson County Community College 
Business name: Native Root 
Tribal affiliation: Cherokee 

What led to your passion for Indigenous foods? 
My mother has Native American heritage from her father’s side (Cherokee and Choctaw). Growing up, my mother taught my brother and I about Indigenous culture. I want to highlight this culture to our community because it’s still so prominent today. Through food, I try to be intentional by provoking this curiosity about Indigenous culture and foods. 

Why do you think it’s important to make traditional foods accessible for Natives? 
It’s important because traditional foods, techniques, and culture have nearly been wiped away throughout the history of this nation. It’s tragic to know that people don’t have as much access to their ancestry and history because of this. By providing platforms and access to traditional foods, the history and culture have an opportunity to be revived.   

What is the importance of an Indigenous diet for a healthy lifestyle? 
After colonization, the foods that were available to Indigenous peoples were foods that were foreign to their bodies and diets. Hardly anything was natural and now health concerns are carried into today’s generation through this ripple effect. 

An Indigenous diet is important for a healthy lifestyle because this diet is the most natural food for the body. Nothing from the earth is processed. 

What other ways (besides your business) are you involved in the education, restoration and accessibility of traditional Native foods? 
I am becoming more involved with supporting restoration and accessibility as I learn and research more. I try to support Indigenous food suppliers as often as I can and also donate to different organizations that I find on different platforms such as “The Sioux Chef” website

How can community members be involved and support the cause of restoring and protecting Indigenous food systems? 
I will always stand by the statement, “knowledge is power.” I believe it is extremely important to educate our community about the Indigenous food system so that we are able to become more intentional about what we eat, who we source from and why, and grow knowledge about the platforms that are in place so we can continue to support this growth. 

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