The Sioux Chef raises funds for new restaurant

The Sioux Chef proprietors Dana Thompson and Sean Sherman. Photo by Photo Rx

A Kickstarter campaign is close to raising $100,000 to build a restaurant called The Sioux Chef.

The restaurant at a location to be determined would focus on indigenous Native American foods, starting with the Dakota and Ojibwa. Menu ideas include bowls of bison with chokecherry demi-glaze over wild greens, and cups of cedar tea.

“Why is it that you can find cuisine from all over the world in our many great cities, but not the food that comes from right under our feet, the food that is Native to our regions and the Indigenous Peoples?” Chef Sean Sherman asks in the Kickstarter campaign.

Sherman and his partner Dana Thompson live in the Lyndale neighborhood. Thompson is a former talent buyer for the Aster Café, and she’s a jazz and folk musician (previously named City Pages’ Best Female Vocalist). Sherman is an Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. They consulted on the Tatanka food truck, which is owned by Little Earth of United Tribes.

The couple has traveled the world feeding tribal elders and teaching about the indigenous food model.

Sioux Chef 2 submitted photo
Photo by Photo Rx

“It gets away from a colonial food model that is French and Italian in nature,” Thompson said.

They forage before pop-up dinners and source ingredients like wild rice from tribal regions.

At a new restaurant, they will plant a garden and prepare food by sun-drying, smoking or cooking on a comal grill and over a wood fire.

“We’ll get away from petroleum as much as we can,” Thompson said.

Smoked duck and hominy cake with dried crabapple sage, prepared by The Sioux Chef. Submitted photo
Smoked duck and hominy cake with dried crabapple sage, prepared by The Sioux Chef. Photo by Nancy Bundt

If funding is available, they might install solar panels or capture cold air in winter to aid refrigeration.

Native American performers and storytellers will be a regular feature of the restaurant as well.

“We’re trying to throw artists into the mix just to show how rich this culture is,” Thompson said.