Wolfman shares Indigenous cooking skills with students
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This article was published 26/10/2017 (1798 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Internationally renowned chef David Wolfman visited the Assiniboine Community College kitchen on Wednesday, sharing his knowledge, motivation and skills in cooking Aboriginal cuisine with culinary arts students.
His hands-on workshop allowed Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts students to get a first-hand look at creating some of the dishes straight from his new cookbook “Cooking with the Wolfman: Indigenous Infusion,” as well as exploring different ingredients in a new way.
“I strategically wanted to utilize Indigenous products as the main component, and fuse it with our Indigenous cousins from the east, west, south and the north, or international flavours … So for example, curried caribou and pastry, and elk short ribs done in a French style, slow braised with sour cherries,” Wolfman said. “We wanted to keep the stories and the foods from our Indigenous people … although some of these traditional foods have become extinct in our culture, the ones that are still here I’m keeping them alive by modernizing them to make them contemporary and fun.”
The self-described “creative maniac” had no problems holding the attention of eager young cooks, presenting cooking demonstrations for dishes like vanilla duck breast while talking to them about creating their own passion and success.
But with 18 years experience hosting “Cooking with the Wolfman” on APTN and more than 20 years as a culinary arts professor at George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto, captivating and inspiring an audience is a piece of cake.
“I want (the students) to get involved and excited about what they do,” Wolfman said. “I wanted to talk to them about motivation. I wanted to tell them that they can have a book like this — they can do anything they want if they put their mind to it and they are willing to do the work.”
First year student Shaun Taylor said he has always dreamed of exploring his Aboriginal culture and bringing the food to the world, and Wolfman has given him a bigger perspective of how he can achieve his goals.
“He’s a great mentor, not just for me, but for everyone,” Taylor said. “He’s inspired everybody. I’ve seen a different look on each and every student here so far.”
Seeing the more traditional style dishes combined with different twists and new mediums has also opened his eyes to new opportunities within Indigenous cuisine, Taylor said.
“All the things that I see here amongst the dishes, like bannock, for example, I’ve made more than once in my lifetime, duck and the wild meats — it brings awareness to what can be explored in the kitchen,” Taylor said. “But things like seal and caribou, I’ve never experienced that. Adding new flavours and giving it a kick here and there is really interesting.”
Wolfman said it was important that his cookbook, which he co-wrote with his wife, Marlene Finn, was good quality and easy to approach, so more people can explore, share and enjoy Indigenous cuisine.
“The main purpose of this book is to let people know there’s a lot of stories tied behind (Indigenous food). We didn’t have a written tradition, we had an oral tradition … so we are trying to keep it alive,” Wolfman said. “Some of the elders have shared their stories with us and we want to make sure we share them. That’s what we do … it’s inherent in us to be giving. We want to share the stories of the people, share the stories with how we gathered food, with everyone.”
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