Chef Rich Francis, Tetlit Gwich'in and Tuscarora Nations, made the final of Top Chef Canada earlier this year, and did so espousing his vision for gourmet food with pre-contact ingredients. He calls his creations Modern Indigenous (or Aboriginal) Cuisine, which you can learn more about at facebook.com/AboriginalCulinaryConcepts.
"Everything I do as a chef is to contribute or benefit First Nation Cuisine as a whole," he told ICTMN. "I just feel it’s a really exciting time for our food. My presence on Top Chef Canada was to promote my concept and prove to that our food belongs up there with the other global cuisines."
The proof is in the pudding -- or perhaps we should say it's in the saucepan and on the grill. Ultimately, it's on the plate -- what do you think, are these Modern Indigenous Dishes of elk, musk ox, and plenty of salmon, "up there" with fancy food from other parts of the world?
The photos, descriptions and brief comments below are courtesy Rich Francis. Please try not to drool on your screen.
A signature dish very dear to me. Potato and herb-crusted salmon with wild rice oatmeal 'risotto', wild mushrooms and saged blueberry.
Salmon Ceviche, summer flavours, very refreshing.
Signature cured and confited salmon. Cured in sweetgrass, sage and juniper, then smoked with cedar berries. Off the charts amazing.
Cured and confited salmon (as above) served with pickled blueberries.
Elk tataki with avocado, mint and chilli
A Top Chef dish that was just spectacular. Seared pickerel with potato, fennel and crustacean broth.
Musk ox prosciutto, bannock toast, reduced birch syrup and sweetgrass dressed arugula.
Seared scallops with saffron vanilla sauce, garnished with caviar. I love this presentation.
Brining pickles Haudenosaunee style. So good.
Cedar grilled wild boar loin with chimchurri and crispy shallots
BC spot prawns in a toasted black pepper corn and devil root sauce