Sharing Indigenous food roots
Saskatchewan’s food history is long and diverse. Regina-based First Nations chef and food influencer Jodi Robson enjoys sharing her own cultural history by highlighting new takes on traditional Saskatchewan culinary traditions. A member of the Okanese First Nation, Robson’s cooking style is described as both rustic and experimental. She was a finalist in season three of CBC’s Great Canadian Baking Show; returned for the show’s holiday special in season five; and actively highlights her passion for food, family, and her Indigenous culture through social media. “I wear a multitude of hats. I’m a local cook, a recipe developer and content provider for online resources. I’m also a co-host of an exploratory food show called ‘Big Heart, Small Town’, where I travel across the province with a former Saskatchewan wanderer visiting rural regions, learning about foraging, hunting and fishing,” says Robson. “I’m a Nakota-Cree woman. I get to bring some of my own cultural knowledge to these communities. We cook a big meal to sit down, and share knowledge.” Some of Robson’s favorite traditional foods and ingredients come from Saskatchewan’s boreal regions. But while duck eggs, mushrooms, berries, birchbark sap, wild rice, and many other products were traditionally harvested from wild landscapes, urban, industrial, and agricultural development mean that Robson finds many such products from Saskatchewan’s farming community. “I rely on local producers for a lot of these ingredients as communities grow and cities get larger. It makes it way easier for me in a lot of ways, and we’re still working with the more traditional foods we’re used to,” she says. “I appreciate the extensive range of products available to me that would not have been prior. I really like to work with boreal heartland products traditional method of gathering and product treatment. They’re items that would be really time consuming to go and gather, but are fantastic to work with for any dish.” When not cooking or sharing knowledge with followers and other communities, Robson enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. They actively follow the Saskatchewan Roughriders, love the outdoors, and even run “Sask & Destroy” – Saskatchewan’s official fan chapter for heavy metal giant Metallica.