Category Archives: Dinners at the James Beard House 2017

The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen


Cider-Braised Turkey Thighs

I first heard about the Sioux Chef about a year ago when I started following the Standing Rock posts in social media. For me, it’s been an awakening experience- seeing the world through the perception of the Indigenous Peoples of America. After following Standing Rock and the Tribes from North Dakota, I started seeing other Indigenous People from around the world differently. That missing element, the mysteries of the world’s peoples became clearer than I’ve ever known. I’ve always been drawn to different cuisines, native garments, languages, and travel- but for some odd reason I must confess, I’ve never liked American culture. America seemed to lack culture, despite it’s 200-year old history. It needed something beyond the surface.


Sage and Rose-Hip Roasted Duck; Maple-Sage Roasted Vegetables; Wild Rice Pilaf with Wild Mushrooms, Roasted Chestnuts, and Dried Cranberries; Cranberry Sauce.

I’ve been rebellious against everything I’ve been taught for a reason- something was awfully wrong with the big picture. I finally found that missing element last year when I learned Thanksgiving is actually a celebratory feast of ransacking Native villages. It used to be celebrated all the time, throughout the entire year until Abraham Lincoln dismissed all the little Thanksgivings and turned it into a national holiday. I haven’t looked back since discovering this little secret and can’t help not getting as excited about Thanksgiving anymore. Instead, I prefer to celebrate the beauty of the Native cultures which brings me to introduce to you, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen cookbook authored by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley. Some of the ingredients were hard for me to source, so I remained to cooking the recipes with ingredients that are easier to find in my neck of the woods- Northern New Jersey. To my amazement, the recipes were easy, simple, and utilized a lot of the vegetables I’ve always used, except everything had an earthiness I haven’t sensed before. I can’t even begin to describe it- you can’t write it into words, it’s something you just sense. I recreated a Thanksgiving meal with a fresh killed duck ordered from Gofle Road Poultry Farm. The spices used include Juniper and Sage. Instead of cooking the traditional Colonial American Sweet Potatoes or Mashed Potatoes recipe, I made Wild Rice Pilaf. Here is where I started to recognize the Indigenous flavors of wilderness and fresh cranberries. The cranberry sauce from the cans and bottles seem rather profane compared to the fresh and natural hunters and gatherers version.


Amaranth Crackers and a Bean dip I developed and made to accompany it.

At one point during this week long cookbook review process- I ventured outdoors to a nearby recreational park looking for acorns but to no luck, I was confronted by hissing squirrels and no acorn supply. I had amaranth in my pantry forever and never knew what to make with it. Here it is cooked (boiled) and then baked off in the oven for about an hour. The end result is a wholegrain cracker like you’ve never had before. I am seeing where the marriage of different cultures stems from after reading and cooking off some of these recipes. I envisioned the Indigenous tribes sharing the three sisters with the Colonists and enslaved Africans. I see the influence in Southern Cuisine, in Mexican cuisine, and throughout Latin American cuisines. It was an absolute delight to see the source of our cultural history and I can’t wait to discover more recipes in the future! You won’t find butter or cattle or even chicken recipes. You’ll find recipes based on the plants and animals that are Indigenous to America, just as they were before the mass immigration wave from Europe began. This cookbook will help you connect to where you’re living if you are here like I am, looking to find new ways of rediscovering your surroundings. For me this cookbook means more than a recipe collection. It’s a piece of America we’ve been longing for and missing. I’ve never felt more American than I do right now, embracing this Indigenous food with the native plants and wildlife that nourishes our bodies.


Summer’s Vegetable Soup with Wild Greens

The Sioux Chef is cooking off an Indigenous Feast at the Sioux Chef at James Beard House on October 27th. Tickets cost $135 for members and $170 for the general public. You can get a copy of the Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen cookbook via Amazon here.

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Filed under Cookbook Reviews, Dinners at the James Beard House 2017, Recipes, Restaurants, Special Events, Spirit Cooking, Uncategorized

Redemption in Coastal Kitchen at the Beard House and Remembering Matt Haley


From Infinity and Beyond!

From Infinity and Beyond!

Chef: “Hey Dining with Outlaws!”

Me: “Hey chefs! Did we meet before?”

Chef: “Yes the first time we cooked here in 2014.”

Me: “Wait- Doug? Yes that’s me! OMG! Hey!”

It feels really great when the chefs remember you, and it’s especially great when you just vibe with them in the kitchen. The energy flows as it should when you’re having a good time anywhere in life. I looked through the photos of that dinner and realized that was one of my first photography assignments at the Beard House. Oh my, my photos have come a long way since. I’ve been using lighting equipment and props since a few months ago and it’s really taken me to the next level of where I’ve wanted to go creatively.

I’ve been practicing interviewing the chefs in the kitchen since that first day I started taking photos. Now I’m gearing up to start shooting videos, documentary film style and I’m playing around with my shooting style at the moment. Which brings me to wanting to travel to see the chefs in action and spend more time with them, maybe a few days at a time to really document their process. I was intrigued to hear so many chefs if not all from last night’s dinner describe Matt Haley as an extraordinary humanitarian, not just for his contribution to the endless non profit organizations, but for bringing them up, one stepping stone at a time. They all told me the same thing: I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for that guy.

Matt Haley was James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Humanitarian of the Year Award Recipient. Once upon a time, he was once a bad guy, or more of a broken guy. He knew the streets and the streets knew him as well. He was a broken human being, who perhaps through self reflection, pain, sorrow and getting in some trouble, found himself in life and found his true calling. He vowed in his life to make a positive change for others and spent it dedicating his time, energy, and money to help those who are struggling. He helped the poor, he helped the hungry, he helped immigrants, he helped the children who were given up by their parents.

One of the chefs told me he spent his entire life getting in trouble until he met Matt. His mother carried a long unresolved trauma of rejection for the man she married. I don’t know what happened inside their family dynamics but I can only imagine it was very difficult not to have the family support you need and want. We connected through our mutual Korean heritage and the fact we both love Kimchi. Who doesn’t love Kimchi? Everyone should love Kimchi.

When I heard of Matt’s passing away last night, I felt somber and I felt chills. I also felt this was a human we need to talk about and I want to know more about his life and his journey in transforming himself and others. I wish I had the chance to meet this great person, but in a way- that nostalgia of never seeing him or knowing him will inspire me to tell a better story of his legacy. Great people are worth remembering. Matt Haley was James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Humanitarian of the Year Award Recipient. Thanks for being you, and for raising such outstanding chefs! Cheers to you big buy wherever you are!

And the dinner was the Bomb! I didn’t get to eat the dessert, ran out of time! It gives me a good excuse to visit all the chefs!

For more infö about SoDel Concepts and the many restaurants started by Matt Haley, click here.

For the full James Beard Foundation dinner information, click here:

  • Remembering Matt Haley and his Redemption Mission at the James Beard House
  • Devilved Egg
  • Lobster
  • I need to get the name of this dish
  • Sommelier in action
  • Chilled Lewes Dairy Buttermilk Soup with Smoked Virginia Oysters, Bay Water Greens Herbs, Cucumber, and Matt’s Curry Spice
  • Chef Douglas Rouley
  • Seared Dayboat Scallops with Chesterfield Heirlooms Tomato Water, Summer Squash Agnolotti, Basil, and Flowers
  • Milk-Fried Softshell Crab with Magee Farms Sweet Corn Butter, Spicy Chowchow, Pork Fat Dijonnaise, and Old Bay
  • Rockfish au Poivre with Cauliflower, Charred Wild Carrots, and Onion Rings
  • Warm Bennett Orchards Peach Upside-Down Cake with Frozen Peach–Thyme Yogurt, Cracked Pepper Honey, and Maple–Peach Caramel
  • When the dinner is finished...chefs party like it's 1999

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September 16, 2017 · 11:49 pm