In October, Chef Sean Sherman was invited to the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, an international Slow Food Festival held in Turin, Italy. Joined by Indigenous Food Lab Culinary Program Specialist Vern DeFoe (Red Cliff Ojibwe), they participated as representatives of the Turtle Island Association Slow Food Chapter to present a meal featuring Indigenous ingredients and food traditions from throughout the United States, in partnership with Indigenous chefs from across the country.Along with Chef Justin Pioche (Ashihii Dine’) and members of the Pioche Food Group as well as a group of Native Hawaiian chefs, they served 70 people a dinner in a castle built in the 1200s.
The goal of this dinner was to create a menu that was familiar to Italians, but utilized almost entirely Indigenous ingredients. It showcased that cultural foods from other places use foods Indigenous to the Americas. Vern brought out local and fresh Indigenous ingredients for the meal, which was received very well by attendees. They were even interviewed for Italian television!
Both Sean and Vern are incredibly grateful for the connections they made with the variety of chefs, food entrepreneurs, food sovereignty professionals, foodies and more who attended this festival. Vern’s statement below reflects what a great opportunity this was:
“Being able to represent the Turtle Island chapter of the Slow Foods movement was an experience I’ll never forget. Being able to work with Indigenous peoples from all over North America and showcase our cuisine to other people from all over the world and tasting their foods was also amazing. It was also my first experience visiting Europe so I was taking in all of the things. Whether it was the food, the language, sleeping in a castle built in 1200 and even experiencing other people’s perception about native people, I’m glad I had the opportunity to experience [all parts of this trip].”