Friday, December 16, 2011

Cultural Identity in Cuisine

It is a late night after service, my crew has all clocked out and left the property. I am in my office working on the schedule and specials for tomorrow. We got some soft shell crabs in today and we are thinking of doing a sandwich with them at the Sunset Grill and maybe as a "Day App" in our restaurant. I simply breaded the soft shell crabs with panko bread crumbs to "test" and give some of our crew their first taste of this delicacy. Good stuff, they all lit up with delight at the texture and flavor of the fried soft shells. We talked about what we can do with them. It was a brief creative discussion and it was back to breaking down the kitchen, the daily deep clean.

Somebody asked about our menu. There are a lot of different influences in our menu. Since historically in Apacheria there has been a strong military, Spanish, Mexican and American influence, our menu reflects that fact. We have a Hominy Stew on the menu that we consider "A Raiding Campaign Recipe" because we "raided" in New Mexico and got the recipe from eastern Dinetah/Pueblos, did some changes in flavor, technique and made it ours, made it a recipe only produced by White Mountain Apaches in the Kitchen.

The Three Sisters make appearances in various forms as well. (The "3 Sisters Corn Fritters are tasty.) We pay homage to South America with a Quinoa "the super-food" and Chimichurri. We also pay homage to Eurasia and classical French Traditions with fundamental culinary technique, but have amended the classical French Brigade Model to one that runs parallel with traditional Apache values and group structures of leadership.

We focus on the fundamentals. We are not a pretentious restaurant. We are a humble kitchen. We focus on training and we value strong work ethic. Our style has many solid influences and we are not trying to be like anybody but ourselves. We utilize elements of classical cuisine that we feel fit into the model we have created for ourselves. One of the basic and most important classical terms is "Mise En Place", which is a French phrase that translates into, "things in place". This is a physical method of organization, however it is even more importantly an intellectual pathway..."Mental Mise En Place". Simply put, it is having all ingredients, tools, knowledge and skill to execute a certain dish or operation. This is a phrase that we have translated into the Apache language and will soon be posted in our kitchen. 
  As individual members of the crew get stronger because of their own hard work and experiences, we all get stronger as a group. We talk about how we are kinesthetic learners relying on daily powerful sensory experiences with food. It is my hope that these powerful sensory experiences are carried like tools to rely on as our apprentices and mentors alike continue in their paths as cooks/chefs. I know that for me, this is an amazing opportunity to utilize years of physical and intellectual training in the development of our own style of cooking, our own regional cuisine.

If there are any experienced cooks and chefs that may be reading this blog, I assume they will know what we are dealing with. I hope that historians, educators, artists, nutritionists and anthropologists find this blog in cyberspace because it concerns us all. Even if you don't want to come and try our cooking, it is still a unique occurrence in cultural preservation and development. We utilize terms like Participant Observation and Sensory Experience to describe our work and how we learn. We draw on elements that have been in place since time immemorial to do something very "modern and cutting edge". We acknowledge the fact that those who came before us in our White Mountain Apache history have helped make this possible. I personally feel like food has become a living link between "worlds" or "realms" because how food communicates with me and how I communicate with and through food. It is a very personal interpretation that has taken my entire lifetime to develop. Since I feel that is true for me, I cannot keep what I have so I give it away freely to my staff. It is connected to my understanding of the word, duty.

It is also important to note that we are not the first to do this. I think change is a constant. This black and white image is of Natives at the Phoenix Indian boarding School in the early 1900's. This image is one example of those who have come before us as 'Apaches in the Kitchen'. It is also an example of another wave, a culture shift or shift in consciousness in Native America. Looking at this image here, I wonder where the children of these young men are today because in the early 1900's my great grandfather Joseph C. Ivans was a child. So although this image is old, it is very recent in the living family bloodlines and history of our Native Peoples.

So with all this history and cultural influence in mind, we push onward in the culinary arts. We send this blog as a message to the world from high in the White Mountains in Arizona, from a place that is sacred to us as White Mountain Apaches. I am very grateful for this opportunity to work and train with our staff as we work toward a common goal to produce great food and provide quality service. There will be bumps in the road but we can work through them as a group. Be on the look out for images of our Chef's Table that we will soon be doing in our kitchen. The Chef's Table will be inside the kitchen and seat four people so they have the interactive experience of seeing our culinary staff working to produce all that I attempt to describe here in this blog.

We are diligent and grateful...

Ashoog Bik'ehgo'ihi'dan!


Monday, November 21, 2011

We are powerful people...

The momentum is building.
I have spent countless hours developing and programming for this winter season. The Apache Chef Apprentice program has been launched, the White Mountain Apache Culinary Translation Project is underway and we believe that our work is meaningful. We have taken the first steps in attempting to "raise people" in our kitchen. I have apprentices and my apprentices have apprentices. I am working very diligently to share my own culinary philosophy with my staff in the hopes that they themselves develop their own method of communicating through food and culture. We as a group of Apaches in the Kitchen are on a pathway toward creating a strong cultural identity in professional cooking. We recognize the importance of humility and relying on one another in this project. "Apaches are powerful people." I don't know how many times in my life I have heard that phrase and I believe it to be true. We aim to demonstrate this strength in our particular discipline of cooking.

Stay tuned to this blog because in the next few weeks the hotel will open and we will be back in full swing with a complete intellectual, emotional and even spiritual recharge. This is important to us and we will be documenting our progress with writing, journaling, photography and sharing. Be on the look out for images of kinesthetic learning in action; organic culinary culture building; witness our mentors become better chefs as they teach our apprentices and share in this powerful gastronomic experience here in Apaches in the Kitchen...or you can come and visit us in our kitchen and dine at the chef's table.
Thank you for supporting White Mountain Apache Culinary Culture!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Culinary Culture Building

Getting ready to open our kitchen is challenging task that I feel we are ready for. We will be bringing a few new people on board for training and "culinary culture building". This will be a challenge and I have been producing materials for the in-coming apprentices that we may get. They will be held to a high standard and expected to do many things outside "normal" kitchen work and it will be interesting to observe the response.

The term "Culinary Culture Building" is a term that we came up with to put a better name to what we are aiming to do and that is developing Native American Cuisine and Culinary Culture. I do feel that this broad term can also be applied to not just Native American cooking but to world cooking in general.

In our vision of Culinary Culture Building, the best way to contribute is to "participate in your own culinary evolution" by cooking, supporting others, culinary self-education and learning through active participant observation. The development of a "culinary voice" is also very important because articulating ideas and creative methods pushes the practice even further.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apache Chef Apprentice Program

 As we near the winter ski season on The White Mountain Apache Tribe and here at Sunrise Park Resort, I am launching an "Apache Chef Apprentice Program" within our culinary department. This is a collaborative effort and community outreach is a critical element in this project. I will also be utilizing resources and culinary information collected during my years of work as chef and founder of The Native American Culinary Association or NACA. The White Mountain Apache Tribe, NACA and Sunrise park Resort support this culinary endeavor.

The purpose of this program is to cultivate an environment of learning with food and culinary culture as an axis for learning. We aim to use food as a medium to communicate and address issues of culture, place, foodways, work-ethic, identity and wellness.

The objective of this program is to creatively draw on internal resources such as personal sensory experience with food, work-ethic, culinary creativity and professional ambition while developing Native American Cuisine, specifically White Mountain Apache Cuisine. Another objective is to provide an outlet and potential career pathway for adults and at-risk youth by demonstrating the importance of mentorship and discipline in professional cookery.  It is a major objective to provide physical, technical and intellectual skill enhancement by reinforcing culinary fundamentals and Apache cultural principles of life.

Applicants will be screened, tested and only a few will make the final cut. The number of Apache Chef Apprentice positions will be a minimum of 4 and no more than 8. There are a number of factors that determine the number of apprentices and openings will be announced. This is a very unique opportunity that any aspiring chef or young adult looking to enhance their current skill set should take advantage of.

Sunrise Park Resort will be holding a job fair on October 25-26, 2011 in Whiteriver, Arizona at the Memorial Hall from 9:00am to 4:00pm on both days. Mention this Apaches in the Kitchen Blog and express your interest in the Apache Chef Apprentice Program. You can also respond here on this blog or send me an email at

* Keep in mind that not all applicants will be selected so get out your knives and study professional cooking and culinary culture in America, our region and abroad!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sense of Direction

Native American Cuisine is a term that is too broad for what I/we have been trying to achieve. Although it is applicable to where we are at collectively as professional Native American cooks and chefs, but where we are situated on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation in Northeastern Arizona another term is needed. I have been brainstorming in an effort to "define" what and who our cooking represents and three terms come to mind right away.

Apache Cuisine- "The cooking and culinary traditions of the Apache people."  (To me, this sounds generic and a little bit too "Hollywood" for my personal liking. It is also nearly as broad as "Native American Cuisine" because of the number of different bands of Apache people.)

Western Apache Cuisine- The cooking and culinary traditions of the various bands of Apache bands in the western United States. This sounds good but is still very broad, although the bands of Apache share similarities, I'm sure there are major culinary differences when it comes to the ritual of obtaining, preparing and consuming food.

White Mountain Apache Cuisine- A cuisine which is heavily dictated by the seasons, wild flora and fauna. There is a heavy reliance on beef as a result of local Apache cattle associations. This form of cooking is more isolated and is rooted in outdoor cookery, raiding, hunting, fishing, and foraging. Agriculture is seasonal also. This cuisine is heavily influenced by the concept of "Raiding" in history. For example, today an "outside culinary raiding campaign" could be considered an individual or group effort to obtain new foods, ideas, technology and concepts that are acceptable/desirable from the non-Apache world.

These terms are how I would explain or define cuisine if asked about the cuisine of my people. The third term fits us best. It is still open to amendment and development but it sounds right. It is important to note that not all people label our foods in this way and I think and write from a chef's perspective and this is what I feel describes our micro-region. White Mountain Apache Cuisine can only be produced in this region. It may be reproduced in other areas of the world, but in my opinion it must be created here in the White Mountains and prepared by White Mountain Apaches. That is exactly what we are doing today.

Now with a rough outline of our cuisine, we can operate and move our culinary team in a direction with principles. Much of the professional terminology is new to the crew, but they have been utilizing and engaging cooking techniques which the terminology describes for years. I see the importance of categorizing ourselves in cuisine. The development of a cultural identity in cuisine and professional cookery is very important to me and that importance will be shared on a regular basis with the our staff. The reinforcement of cultural culinary development with "the bigger picture" in mind is very important because without a realistic vision and culinary foresight, we would be operating or cooking without a sense of direction.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Triumph of Principle

We are back in the kitchen. Fortunately, I am still at the helm of the kitchen. I know we took many things for granted. Lessons have been learned and growth has been achieved. I am still very proud of this culinary staff of White Mountain Apaches. We strayed on the path a bit. Nevertheless, we are committed to cultivating an environment of learning and discipline in our kitchen, while producing cuisine based on fundamental culinary principles. We came very close to losing out on some important opportunities in our collective culinary evolution as a team, a crew, or since we are Apaches, our band.

As the chef of this team, I make a commitment to my team and to myself to take advantage of opportunity when it presents itself, to remain a disciplined and committed teacher, and to remain lucid, realistic and sober. I make this commitment public to the world via Internet because I need to honor principles of Apache leadership, honor and integrity.

I learned important lessons over the summer. Reflecting on my path from being a culinary student, a line cook, sous chef, and now executive chef I can see where I have misplaced value. When I was much younger I was fortunate to experience what many take years to accomplish. I liken it to a favorite film of mine, 'The 36 Chambers of Shaolin' where climbing the mountain to the Shaolin Temple to discover the ancient secrets of Kung Fu was the mission. I too, at a young age climbed the culinary mountain to "discover and learn the secrets of the culinary arts" from the masters. Comparing the culinary arts to kung-fu may sound silly to you but a serious cook will understand.

So figuratively speaking, I climbed the mountain to discover the secrets of the culinary arts. It was a difficult journey filled with pleasure, pain, blood, fire and flesh. All this was driven by a fierce and blinding ambition. I had a fascination with the mystique of high level professional cookery or "the cooking of the masters" as some say. I feel is as if I have reached the mountain top only to discover that there were no "secrets" of the culinary arts that masters held. I learned that there were only principles. It was the principles of being a decent human being that defined a great chef!

All this time I had misplaced value and allowed misinformed people/chefs to form my ideals. I had to travel around the world and to the top of the mountain, experience loss and failure in order to appreciate the true value of other people and universal principles of humanity and the culinary arts. Now, with this humbling personal realization of self and my craft, I can see very clearly what is important to me as a chef. We, as Apaches in the Kitchen, hold no Michelin stars, hell we hold no accolades at all. Nevertheless we work toward cultivating an environment that promotes/values work ethic, leadership, integrity, responsibility, organization and discipline. It can honestly be said that we are simply honoring basic human principles. We are honoring and working toward adhering to Apache values that have been present since time immemorial within the Apache way of life.

As a chef, I realize that I searched the world for culinary identity, when all I had to do was look within my own Apache was only then did I see and witness the triumph of principle.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A restaurant as a life of its own. I believe there are "kitchen gods" that work in conjunction with the order of the universe.  Since I have been here, I have been learning so much about my staff and myself. Things never go according to plan and the best thing to do when that happens is to in that situation is to stay calm and do not panic. The WORST (and disheartening) thing an individual can do when the pressure builds is to give up or engage in some other form of self-sabotage. Standing up and admitting that one needs help is more respectful than suffering through something because of stubborn pride is unnecessary. There is power in asking for help.

It is just the nature of professional cooking that one will fail. Failure cannot be avoided. Failure is a fact of this path. Although nobody likes to admit defeat but there is beauty in failing. The most important lessons in cooking (and life) come from failure, but how you deal with it determines much of the remainder of your path and how the "kitchen gods" will look down upon you. One of the most well-known stories of failure is of probably the best known and hands-down-one-of-the-best-chefs-to-ever-walk-the-earth, Thomas Keller. His example of failure in New York City with a restaurant Rakel, changed the trajectory of his career and ultimately his life. Thomas Keller openly talks about this in many of his presentations on professional cooking, business lectures and to his staff I'm sure. Keller's example of persistence despite failure resulted in him opening one of the best restaurants in the world, The French Laundry.

These topics come to mind in this blog entry because I have seen people in my path as a cook struggle, not ask for help, not take advantage of the repeated attempts to identify and remedy issues, only to walk out on their team. There are people who tough it out, buckle down and go above what they are asked to do and shine. The characteristic that enables people to pull through and persevere is, in my mind a very Apache one, tenacity.

To this point there have been no prolific and outstanding Native American Chefs in our culinary history like Keller, Boulud, Ducasse, Point, Careme and Escoffier that completely changed how people looked at food and restaurants. That fact in mind who do we look to as we work toward developing Native Foods? Although we don't have influential "chefs" in Native American history, we do have very influential and very important historical figures in the history of all tribes in America. During very dark periods in Native American History like the Indian Wars, Manifest Destiny and the development of Indian Reservations, common traits to the survival of Apache people were endurance, commitment to the group/camp, responsibility, intense passion, intelligence, adaptation and tenacity.

It is the ingrained and inherited tenacious Apache mindset that works so well in professional cooking. All of those qualities I mentioned are requirements for any cook to succeed on the pathway to becoming a professional cook and eventually a chef. Since we talked about not having important chefs in our history, we do have important characters such as leaders, headmen of clans and families, medicine people, grandparents, elders, hunters and noted individuals in history that fought to preserve what they believed to be of great value for their posterity. Those important tenacious characters in our history are given new life and continue to be remembered in our dishes, our menus, our stories and most importantly in our culinary mindsets.
This is so much more than "just cooking".

Monday, January 31, 2011


A starting point. When you come from a traumatic place spiritually, emotionally and physically only to enter another, the only changes are the characters in the play and characters are important. It is my responsibility to contribute to something I believe in and have been engaged in all my life, whether I knew it or not and that is food culture. I like to call it culinary culture because that is what the life of a professional cook is, a sub-culture of another culture. For us here on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, as cooks, we are a sub-culture of a sub-culture of a sub-culture (if that makes sense to you). Three-star Michelin Restaurants and Four Star Manhattan Restaurants are worlds away from us and our reality is very different. The food we produce is very different. It is interesting to me as the chef because I have been to many places in the world and have been in the presence of world renowned chefs and their brigades. All that is so far away right now, and as I type this entry, my culinary heros like Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz, Ferran Adria, Brad Thompson, Chris Olson, Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, Marco Pierre White and many others are still in this world working diligently at very high levels of cooking while respecting the time honored culinary traditions of the old world.

Knowing this is quite daunting when I think of what we are working toward achieving here in our humble kitchen. I have been in great kitchens and the very real fear-of-god-kitchen-pressure is an old friend of mine I haven't seen in a while. I try not to compare ourselves to any other kitchen and their culinary achievements because frankly, there is no other kitchen that I am aware of that has realized a starting point like we other kitchen in the world has a team of Apaches working within the confines of the fundamental French culinary traditions that I, the chef, honor and respect. Principles developed by the great chefs of the world, principles handed down through the great culinary family tree that began in France with the first chefs that exalted themselves and their craft to what it has become today. Culinary principles honed, cherished and developed with pleasure and pain, success and failure, burns and and death is what I want my cooks to respect.
I am a cook devoted to learning about the culinary history of the world, a subject that is very deep and that reaches far into the human spirit and consciousness of all cultures in the world. There is nothing more sacred than food and as a person from an indigenous American culture, food and respect for the intimate link between heaven and earth that food provides, is a very real element of my life. I cant help but sounding like a romantic when I write about this topic, but really, can such a beautiful story about food and humanity be anything else? I am proud to be a part of this very real human story of fire and all reality if you are reading this blog then you are sharing in this journey so you are a part of it too...

A cook's philosophy gradually evolves, just as it does for any other discipline. The deeper into the culinary history of the world, I have journeyed by research, eating and travel, it is apparent that I will never know all that I would like to about cookery. However, what I do know is that every culture witnessed a "culinary revolution" of sorts caused by a change in social, economic and political consciousness. Based on observation, I feel that we are experiencing, and have been for about a decade now, a culinary revolution in Native America among the indigenous. Although chefs are at the "mega-phone" to the public and outside world yes, there is much more to this amazing change in social consciousness as it relates to food. More time and research is devoted to food in an effort to combat social ills and disease in communities. Food is now used as a medium for teaching the actual history of indigenous American peoples in this country and the world. Native American Culinary Anthropology is now a real area of academic study. Methods of food production, aquaculture and agriculture are "Going Green" and I like to say they are simply, "Going Native" because they are ecologically sound, sustainable and based on seasonality and locality, just as indigenous peoples in the Americas have cultivated and eaten for thousands of years.

As a professional cook for the past twelve years years, I have seen the gradual change in food culture in Native American communities and it is exciting. I travel the world and the United States cooking and training and when I hear the buzz words, "Going Green, Organic, Sustainable", I smile and think of my ancestors who often lived to see a century in their lifetimes. I think of the intimate connection between heaven and earth that must have been realized thousands of years ago because of the practice of cultivating, preserving, sourcing and consuming food. I think of the immense culinary contributions indigenous American peoples have made to modern world cuisine as we know it today. Therefore, it only makes sense for us as cooks to realize this amazing potential, this humble yet profound starting point in Native American Cuisine.

Now when I say "starting point" in Native American Cuisine, don't get me wrong, there have been millions of indigenous people over hundreds of thousands of years that have made Native Foods what they are today. I am talking about a starting point for professional Native chefs and cooks. The powerful realization that we stand on the brink of a very important time in the culinary history of Native American people today. We have the potential to work diligently to develop our own interpretation of modern Native American Cuisine as we see it. This of course must be very respectful of the great culinary traditions of the world and the culinary traditions of Native Peoples in the Americas because without understanding the history and evolution of those respective cuisines, our efforts risk becoming "confused" and lacking a solid foundation. So, culinary theory, approach and philosophy is very important. It is just as much a intellectual and spiritual journey as it is a physical one...

Another very real fact of this "Native Food Revolution" is that it does not only concern chefs so this blog is not an attempt to "exalt ourselves" because the reality is that we as Natives(Apaches) are expected to be humble and appreciative when it comes to food. Also very important to remember that a culinary revolution like this begins in the home. It begins with what we choose to feed our children. It begins with the community group conscious and perception of agriculture, hunting, fishing and restaurants. The perception that "food is fuel" must be abandoned and a more intimate and involved approach to food must be developed for this important social change to bear fruit over the years.
"Apaches in the Kitchen" is a blog about our journey from the perspective of one chef and the consensus of my culinary team. We are working diligently and it is my responsibility to share this culinary perspective with my crew. We ARE doing important work. I have felt like and heard, many times, in my path as a cook that, "its just food." However, it is so much more than that and coming from the spiritual, emotional and physical recovery from a profound loss in my personal life with the death of my father, I know what is important to me as a chef and that is the human element of cookery and cuisine. My father loved humanity (food as well) and it is through experiencing loss do I know what is important....that is staying in a constant state of learning and contributing to the positive development of self, community and humanity. It is our responsibility to cook for our children while continuing to honor and practice the culinary traditions and attitudes of our own families, communities and nations that make us great.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In the trenches.


"Stay a line cook and train for as long as you can.", is a statement that a great chef said to me along my path as a professional cook working to become a chef.

This is something that I didn't really understand back then when I was working the line, but today I understand it more than ever. Being on the line is serving time in the trenches, in the heat of battle carrying out orders in an effort to win or achieve a common goal. Being on the line and working as a valued member of the team is a great feeling. There is nothing better than getting through a bone crushing busy night on the line, with the barrage of orders, verbal corrections, vulgarity, stress and pressure of professional cooking. Knowing that you pulled your own weight and handled your station well is a very rewarding experience that NOBODY can give to you, it is an experience that is earned through blood, sweat, tears and psychological strength and conditioning.

Line cooking is a critical part of the culinary development of an individual in a kitchen. Even if one does not want to become a "chef", in order to work in any kitchen and be worth the money paid, one must learn to work on the line, therefore spending time in the trenches is paramount. Line cooking builds character and increases one's pain and pressure threshold. The time spent line cooking is time devoted to fundamental culinary technique and understanding the behavior of food. It is an important time to learn proficiency with a knife, flame, communication, salt, pepper, butter and technique. I am proud to have come from the trenches. I have my scars some external and others internal, but the work ethic I value in myself and others could not have been built without spending more than ten years on the line in America and abroad.

Today the line cooks in our kitchen are working diligently and learning in the process. It is ironic that in my culinary travels in the world, I shared the culinary traditions of Native America, my home in Apacheria and Dinetah, now that I have returned home to work as the chef, I share the culinary traditions of the world with my crew. So we are in fact honoring the great culinary traditions of Eurasia as well as the age old culinary traditions of Native Peoples in America. It is this combination of culture and cuisine that makes what we do so exciting and rewarding.

 Pan Roasted Bay Scallops, Fresh Linguine, Tomato Confit and Butter.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 20, 2011: "ON THE RAIL"

Its all about the food. That is something that we are working on daily. We work toward developing better knife skills, organization and approach to food. There is a good amount of information and culinary theory that has yet to be applied in out kitchen. So before we get more in depth into the culinary philosophy as a team, we focus on the fundamentals of cooking. We focus on the basics like blanching, caramelization, knife work, understanding mise en place and its importance. We focus proper, roasting, sauteeing, grilling, braising and sauce making. Adhering to culinary principles like making fresh pasta or fresh potato gnocchi, teaches my cooks the basic technique and from there the many different types of pasta and gnocchi are then possible.

On a daily basis, we are now making chicken stock, the right way. Blanched chicken bones, washed and cut-for-stock-mire piox are basics we now utilize. The staff are used to relying on chicken/beef bases and I explain that by simply devoting the time to making quality stock, it improves all the foods in the kitchen from soups to sauces, while also setting us apart from many other kitchens in our region. The next step will be to begin roasting veal bones for veal stock, and this makes me very excited. The long and careful process of making a good veal stock is very rewarding for me as a chef and it is my hope that the cooks will understand this long process that also improves the quality of the cooking in this humble kitchen.

I have also been training the cooks to work with a chef expiditer at the pass. The process of calling orders, the difference between, "order in", "order up", "order fire!", "on the fly", and time honored phrases like, "in the weeds" are important to learn. The line cooks have adapted to me barking orders and verbaly giving instructions on how to cook and plate dishes. Sure, we have been in the weeds and the cooks have been really stressed under the new system, but they are getting visibly stronger daily and setting up their staions faster each week. So, because they are getting stronger, I can now begin doing daily specials and changing the menu more often. We still have a lot to learn, but we are on the right track and I am proud of my line cooks. Watching the culinary development of cooks is amazing and it is my responsibility to guide them along their path as we work as a crew.

Very soon we will be producing some very intricate, yet simple plates for tasting menus that showcase Native American Cuisine prepared by an all White Mountain Apache culinary team!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A journey toward a common goal...

This is the first post of many to come. I am the head chef of a crew of White Mountain Apaches, including myself. As a Native Chef, this basic fact is very important because I have cooked in many places in the United States and around the world and this is the only kitchen that is filled with Native people, White Mountain Apaches for that matter, including the chef. We focus on training and fundamentals in our kitchen. Communication and professional terminology is also utilized and reinforced on a daily basis. As the chef, I tell the crew of the possibilities at hand and great opportunity to grow as a team and just as importantly as individuals.

White Mountain Apache professional cooking.