Travel across the US and the cuisine doesn’t change much from state to state. It has a reputation for being sodium-filled, sweetened and glutenous (though, arguably, delicious) food. But chef Sean Sherman, known as the Sioux Chef, is hoping to redefine what we think of as “American” food.
Sean Sherman, the ‘Sioux Chef’ and owner of the Tatanka street food truck in Minneapolis
At his newly launched Minneapolis food truck Tatanka, named after the American bison, dishes are made with ingredients that could be found living or growing locally before the arrival of European settlers. So you can forget processed sugars, wheat flour, beef, chicken and pork, Sherman serves wild rice and taco-style cornflour cakes with bison, turkey or rabbit, topped with wild greens and washed down with maple water. As well as being truly American, the food is super-healthy, organic – and local.
“We’ve worked with a couple of native-run farms to grow back some heirloom varieties of beans, squash, melon and corn,” says Sherman.
As well as introducing Minnesotan foodies to indigenous foods, the truck – which is supported by Little Earth, an urban Native American community – will head out to reservations, too, to reintroduce native populations to the healthier diet of their ancestors.
Sherman hopes this will be not just a new culinary trend but the beginning of a resurgence in indigenous foods across the US: “It would be way more interesting if there were Native American restaurants everywhere so people could really experience the regional foods of different areas, instead of just homogenous hamburgers and Coca Cola all the way across the country.”