Cooking with the Three Sisters: BEANS
Time & Location
About the event
The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops cultivated by various indigenous groups in North America: squash, corn, and beans. It is the Holy Trinity of some Indigenous cultures, a trifecta of agricultural sustainability, and an important facet of Indigenous culture and foodways. They are companion plants that help each other in the growing phase.
- The first sister — beans — takes nitrogen from the air and uses it to keep the other sisters healthy.
- The next sister — corn — grows tall stalks that the beans can climb, holding the plants together.
- And the last sister — squash — grows big leaves that cover the ground, keeping weeds from growing and making the ground moist. The spiny squash also keeps away any animals that would eat the sisters.
Symbolically, they are helping everybody interpret life, be happy and just keep smiling.
Joseph will be featuring one of the ingredients in each of his sessions, share the important stories and experiences of his culinary journey all while cooking 2 recipes. His overall message focuses on the importance of using every ingredient whole.
About the Chef: Acclaimed Chef Joseph Shawana is Odawa, part of the Three Fires Confederacy. Born and raised in Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve located on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, north of Toronto, Joseph was brought up knowing that food is life. Having 6 brothers and 6 sisters, and being the oldest male, he paid a lot of attention to his mother while she was cooking, who she learned from his grandmother and great grandmother. Starting in the kitchen at the early age of 13, Joseph quickly fell in love with the chef life. At a young age he experienced the power that food has to bring people together, and began his culinary journey with the strict philosophy of utilizing the entirety an ingredient to bring its full range of flavours to the palette.
Trained in classical French combined with his Aboriginal background, his cooking infuses Classical French techniques with Native American cuisine; full of flavour and never compromising quality over quantity.
Currently a professor and the Indigenous culinary advisor at Ontario’s Centennial College, Joseph is committed to furthering the education of culinary to all communities. He has also developed a program to assist Indigenous youth to come into his kitchens and work alongside chefs and provide them valuable industry applications for sustained development.
Chef Joseph Shawana, was also the force behind the high-end Indigenous restaurant Kūkŭm Kitchen which won the ‘Best World Cuisine” award in 2019 besting over 33,000 restaurants. There, he was acclaimed for his unique experiments with traditional Indigenous ingredients, many of them wild, including fir tips, sweet-grass and seal.
Chef Joseph is currently the chair of ICAN, the Indigenous Culinary of Association Nations. Under his leadership and guidance, Chef Joseph and ICAN is dedicated to breaking barriers dedicated to sharing Indigenous food, culinary and cultural experiences from across Canada with the world.
He was named on the list of Top Ten Chefs of Ontario and has received rave reviews in the New York Times, Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and Food & Wine to name a few. He is also in great company on Air Canada’s top 20 restaurants in Canada for 2019 and is a sought after voice on the emergence of Indigenous culinary around the globe.