One of Canada’s most famous chefs, Chuck Hughes, realized for all his culinary expertise, he knew nothing about First Nations cooking. He remedies this by visiting the kitchens of First Nations people across Canada to learn about their traditions and local food sources.
There’s so much variety within the culinary world of the First Nations. In episode one, Chuck visits his friend Cezin in Kitigan Zibi, Quebec. She’s a “bush cook” from the Anishnaabe people and went to culinary school to combine modern techniques with her traditional skills handed down to her by family. In episode two, Chuck heads to Iqaluit to meet with Shelia, who is Inuk, and her husband, Johnny. The couple left Ottawa to live the Inuit life of hunting and fishing. Chuck goes on an ice fishing trip with them, and they share a meal of whale fat and raw caribou. Episodes eight and nine lead him to Manawan, Quebec and Six Nations Ontario, where he learns the art of blueberry picking, partridge hunting, and making Three Sisters soup.
The show lets us in on First Nations traditions and the joys of preparing a meal together. The sense of gratitude, from thanking an animal for its life, creating from what the earth provides, and sharing with the community, is vital in the culture and makes you reflect on what’s really important. The takeaway from the series is an intimate view of how Indigenous communities have persevered and continued traditions for hundreds of years to keep their heritage alive. Each community makes it their duty to continue their culture, teach the next generation, and make sure they know their roots.