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Brian Yazzie started helping his mom in the kitchen at age 7. “To me, it was a whole different world from waiting to be served to preparing a meal for the family and seeing their enjoyment of a home cooked meal. This is what basically got me into cooking. Being in a kitchen lost in my own world creating and plating a work of art is my medicine to comfort and heal.”
After moving to the Twin Cities with his girlfriend, he received a brochure in the mail for the culinary program at Saint Paul College, where he is now working on an AAS Degree in Culinary Arts. In addition to his instructors on campus, he considers Sean to be one of his mentors, and is learning from him how to adapt the skills he is learning in school to creating Native-inspired dishes.
When I asked him what it meant to be a Native chef, he replied “As an aspiring Chef I am definitely motivated by the well-established Native Chefs who are on the frontlines revitalizing a rich cuisine that is from our very own backyards (rivers, prairies, forests). Networking, working with, and receiving advices from these Chefs has in a way woken me up to not only pursue a career in culinary but to strongly focus on Indigenous foods and help revitalize a food culture that has been forgotten. I have a ways to go to earn the title of a Chef but it definitely means a lot to be in the mix learning and gaining knowledge daily and to know that one day I will earn the title.” Photo by Elizabeth Hoover

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