Alter-NATIVE Kitchen Shines Spotlight On Indigenous Cooking

Alter-NATIVE Kitchen Shines Spotlight On Indigenous Cooking

From Chopped and Hell’s Kitchen to Sugar Rush and the Great British Baking Show, there are numerous shows out there to spark your culinary interest and to satisfy your taste buds—if you so decide to replicate the masterfully demonstrated dishes in your own kitchen.

The hosts have flair, personality, and ingenuity. They inspire the average person to challenge their creativity and skill in the kitchen and to branch out. While watching the participants cook, viewers can almost taste and smell the zest, aroma, kick, and sweetness of the cuisines being prepared.

One major thing that is missing from these shows is a cultural representation. The majority of cooking shows are hosted by Caucasian men and women; over the years, individuals of color and minorities have been underrepresented on television shows.

Native Americans have especially been underrepresented on television; however, there are those out there who are changing this.

Billy Luther, award-winning filmmaker, along with Independent Lens are in the spotlight with the creation of a six-part series called Alter-NATIVE Kitchen, which premiered on November 19th, 2019.

‘The docuseries highlights the history and culture surrounding Indigenous cuisine. The host and chefs are not merely cooking—they are telling a meaningful story as they create foods that have historically and are currently important in sustaining their communities. There is something powerful and exciting in recreating traditional meals with an imaginative twist.

The first episode follows a Navajo chef, Brian Yazzie, from St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a traveling chef who conducts cooking demonstrations and classes as well as works closely with Native youth in his community.

Once Brian began his time in culinary school, he came to realize that there was a lack of Indigenous representation in the field. This awakening inspired him to begin his journey in bringing his culture to the plate.

In the episode, one of Brian’s classmates states that Brian uses Indiengous ingredients with modernist techniques to create his cuisines.

Brian has now expanded to working with restaurants, food trucks, and catering companies to spice up their cuisines with Indigenous additions.

This docuseries is a hopeful step in bringing Native communities into the spotlight while highlighting their beautiful and inspiring culture.

You may find Alter-NATIVE Kitchen on the Independent Lens YouTube Channel.

Click HERE to view all six episodes.

Feature Image
Chefs Kalā Domingo, Hillel Echo-Hawk, and Brian Yazzie. 
Image Source / Cybelle Codish


One Comment “Alter-NATIVE Kitchen Shines Spotlight On Indigenous Cooking”

  • Avatar for Ebeneezer Forrest

    Ebeneezer Forrest


    I am a retired owner operated Executive Chef Educator for 45 years with a number of food service operations under my belt although I am not of Indigenous peoples decent that I know of I have A number of friends in the south east who are. And I am trying to put together authentic foods and recipes to create the same at Powwows’ etc. to introduce and give credit where it is due and open the eyes of the unknowing spectators that have been lied to for many years through incorrect propaganda . If you could please assist me in researching these foods and recipes to introduce to the unknowing public in the form of a mobile food concession many Thanks

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