How a unsuccessful research for Indigenous foods delivery led me to check out ‘Winnipeg’s’ culinary scene

Jay Lekopoy, the operator of Promenade Brasserie, states that the Butternut Squash Hummus dish reminds him of “Spring in the Prairies.” Photograph courtesy of Promenade Brasserie

The IndigiNews crew returned last month from Treaty 1 territory in “Winnipeg,” the place we attended the annual Indigenous Journalists Affiliation meeting (formerly regarded as the Indigenous American Journalists Affiliation).

A person matter we ended up all energized about — in the metropolis with the maximum populace of urban Indigenous persons in the place — was to attempt some of the regional Indigenous delicacies. 

So soon after a prolonged day leading panels and networking, my coworker searched “Indigenous” in the research bar on Uber Eats. 

To our shock, the only end result that arrived up was Walmart.

We had read of numerous Indigenous-owned restaurants in this town, so we felt puzzled as to why this was the only result demonstrating up. The stereotypical connection remaining a lousy flavor in our mouths, presented Walmart’s historical past of cultural appropriation, as well as long-standing, exhausted tropes about Walmart and Indigenous men and women.

I spoke with other convention attendees — quite a few of whom have been also Indigenous — and the experience was the similar.

As months went by, I saved contemplating about why we ended up not able to come across Indigenous dining places on Uber Eats, so I arrived at out to Uber Canada to request why this took place.

In an e-mail response from Uber Canada to IndigiNews, they informed me that Walmart sells a e-book that involves the expression “Indigenous” in its title, the Hilroy Indigenous Artist Collaboration Sew Reserve.

“This is merely the only merchandise staying marketed by a service provider in the geographic region with ‘Indigenous’ in its name,” stated the spokesperson.

“We are usually wanting for more merchants and delicacies types to be part of the Uber Eats system.”

Of system, not all places to eat have the potential or drive to indication on to supply platforms like Uber Eats. But this omission is symptomatic of a wider challenge, which is that numerous barriers continue to exist in the restaurant field for Indigenous enterprises — from a lack of visibility to worries with sourcing and harvesting ingredients.

Opening the Uber Eats application in “Winnipeg,” you can research “Indian,” “Japanese,” “Italian,” or “Mexican” and acquire a myriad of restaurant strategies. Scrolling as a result of all of the types supplied, basically, every delicacies and nutritional will need is reflected, other than for Indigenous cuisine or any point out of Indigenous people — any where.

Meanwhile, the city’s Indigenous food scene is flourishing — Tourism Winnipeg lately introduced a thorough Indigenous meals guidebook, in which the writer shares that the city’s Indigenous food items choices have virtually doubled in the final few yrs.

So, identified to find out additional, I began exploring dining establishments and reaching out to their homeowners to realize the difficulties they may well be dealing with. In the system, I also acquired additional about their amazing cuisine — all the things from wildflower risotto to sweetgrass ice cream.

What I came absent with is that these eating places are worth in search of out, even if it means putting in a bit of excess legwork to find them.

Feast Cafe and Bistro

When we ended up in the city this previous August, a few of us from the IndigiNews team achieved at Feast Cafe and Bistro to have lunch with my two aunties who stay nearby. 

We shared recollections about my mooshum, Murray McKenzie, who was a photojournalist and radio broadcaster in Manitoba. We shared some huge laughs, all when the scent of freshly baked bannock surrounded us. My auntie gifted us with an abundance of sage. It was a lovely encounter, commencing to stop. 

Peguis Initially Nation member Christa Bruneau-Guenther launched the restaurant to “become a pillar of the West End [of Winnipeg],” according to Feast’s web page. She says she would like each customer to practical experience fashionable dishes rooted in 1st Nations foodstuff when celebrating the spirit of her tradition.

The cafe has had its share of troubles as a compact enterprise — from COVID closures to break-ins — but continues to be a community pillar.

During our pay a visit to, we dined on Manitoba pickerel sliders, bison brisket and sweetgrass ice product. Other items on the menu incorporated bison chilli as perfectly as bannock pizza and tacos.

At Feast, I tried the pickerel sliders with fragrant wild rice. Image by Anna McKenzie. 

Promenade Brasserie

Jay Lekopoy is the owner of Promenade Brasserie, a French-Métis restaurant that overlooks the Red River.

He mentioned that visibility in the tech sector is not the only barrier he’s encountered as a Métis restauranteur. When it will come to substances, he claims, there have been barriers to serving in a natural way occurring food items and medicines owing to harvesting and gathering rules in Manitoba.

His restaurant has experienced to shapeshift to bring meals that is the two reliable and in alignment with provincial legislation.

The Pemmican Tartare is designed with bison, pickled mustard seeds, beff glaće and Saskatoon berries. Lekopoy claims he experienced to awkwardly reveal to wellbeing authorities what Pemmican is. Photograph courtesy of Promenade Brasserie’s Instagram.

“It’s a genuinely awkward discussion to have, and it should not be,” claimed Lekopoy.

“You can get a foraging license in other provinces but not in Manitoba. It can [only] be used for ceremony,” claimed Lekopoy.

Despite the pushback from health and fitness and agricultural rules, Promenade Brasserie’s menu is on fireplace with creative imagination, which include a sugary frybread with Saskatoon berries, bison limited ribs and pan-fried pickerel. 


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Cassandra Carreiro commenced Sharecuterie — an Indigenous lady-owned organization that, like Promenade Brasserie, focuses on nearby elements.

Sharecuterie presents catering providers, has a cafe and wine bar, and incorporates Indigenous-impressed menu items, such as their mini bannock buns.

“Visibility and inclusion is significant to us,” it states on the Sharecuterie web page. 

The cafe is also a room for local community connection. Sharecuterie a short while ago hosted a workshop exactly where individuals realized to bead with Shirley Peters, a Muskego Ininew Iskwew (Swampy Cree lady) from Fox Lake Cree Country.

Charcuterie features mini cups with charcuterie items, which include healed meats,community jams and jellies. Photo courtesy of Sharecuterie’s Instagram.

Bistro on Notre Dame (BoND)

Bistro Notre Dame was featured on the APTN network’s “Chuck and the To start with People’s Kitchen area.” Photograph courtesy of BoND’s Instagram site.

Located in downtown “Winnipeg,” BoND is open up late and presents both equally convenience meals and balanced alternatives.

“We are a Métis owned restaurant striving for sustainability in all that we do, from productive cooking solutions to supporting local foodstuff producers,” said operator and manager Dean Herkert.

Herkert said he began in the resort and restaurant market right before beginning his possess company. 

“It started with the resource area movement, and the additional I looked into servicing local, [he thought] but what about sourcing Indigenous?”

Herkert reported traditional farming procedures, like intercropping, have been all-around for generations. Since of colonization, he included, 1st Nations and Métis Folks have missing a good deal of know-how about our respective cuisine, and that is a little something that is currently being reclaimed at this time.

“I’m influenced to use as quite a few Indigenous components as possible.”

Dishes on the menu involve a wildflower risotto, a bison soften, walleye mac and cheese and much more.

Far more work to be done

After speaking with some of the Indigenous restaurant proprietors in “Winnipeg,” it’s obvious that there requirements to be sizeable modifications to allow for for the sale and distribution of Indigenous foods. Food items has been weaponized for Indigenous persons because get in touch with — from dropping our common diet plan and link to land to hunting, accumulating and fishing.

I think of my mooshum, Murray, sitting on the edge of his trapline with his son — my father, when he was nevertheless a tiny boy. They went to say goodbye to the land, figuring out it was about to be flooded away for the reason of a hydroelectric dam. I assume of the decline of link to our traditional foodstuff and the sicknesses, like diabetes, that have appear with it.

In this way, basically sitting down at a desk and dining on bison, pickerel and wild rice can help to mend these intergenerational losses, and for me, this is the electric power of our Indigenous foods.