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Noble Chef, Prince Edward Island

 

I am Metis but I have been very disconnected from my roots. I got my status about five years ago and am reconnecting to my heritage. 

My partner Rachel and I were working out West when the pandemic hit. We were both working in high-end hospitality businesses and lost our work. To be honest, I was starting to become a little disenchanted with my job. We decided to move back to where I grew up, in Charlottetown, P.E.I., and we have had incredible support from the Indigenous community.

Recently we were invited to attend a national Indigenous tourism conference in Winnipeg. We met a lot of renowned Indigenous chefs. This was an inspiring experience and I could feel myself becoming more connected. I have some real homework to do.

For the last 20 years, I have been working in high-end Italian and French cuisine. We had already branded our company Noble Chef. 
But now I want to do more to incorporate that Indigenous flair and bring more Indigenous ingredients into the cuisines that I have been creating. We have added “Indigenous Curated” to our brand of non-perishable food items. We have a varied offering of pickles, spices, rubs, infused salts, infused oils, and some baked good inspired by my family recipes. We have a butter tart that my mom would make that has been in my family forever, and a bread and butter pickle recipe that's been in my family since my great great-grandmother.

We are the beginning stages of moving into a catering line with Noble Chef that is going to lean more into the Indigenous curations and experiences. Moving forward, we want to create Indigenous experiences with the Italian and French flair that we have learned over the years. As I learn more about my Indigenous culture, we will be throwing this into our eclectic mix of cuisine.

We call ourselves Noble Chef as we are a noble people. Rachel says she knows it sounds a little corny, but we are good-hearted, genuine people and we wanted to make sure that our brand represented that.

Recently we have been getting more recognition for our Indigenous offerings and catered an event on P.E.I. where the customers wanted an Indigenous experience. I was very straightforward with them about our degree of expertise with that type of cuisine, but I did a lot of research. Since then, I made bannock for the first time in my career. We were catering an event being hosted at Abegweit First Nation. There is nothing more nerve-wracking than serving bannock to an Indigenous chief but he said I knocked it out of the park.

There are a lot of doors opening for us. By accident, we ended up at a market we thought was to sell our product, but it was a wholesale market where we ended up with 18 acquisitions, and will be in a number of gift shops across P.E.I. this summer.

From a catering inquiry, we were invited to sit down with some members from Abegweit First Nation. We thought they wanted a catering job but in fact they wanted us to lease out their kitchen to produce our wholesale product and they want us to be on site as much as possible and would love to have our food on the Abegweit First Nation land.

We realized that we can’t do it all and will likely hire prep cooks to keep our wholesale program efficient this summer; because we have also opened a bar.

Pan-seared Scallops with Corn and Squash purées, Maple Gastrique, Fried Sage

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