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Chef Sean Sherman Wins James Beard Leadership Award

The James Beard Foundation has awarded Sean Sherman, the founder and CEO of The Sioux Chef, another honor, a Leadership Award.

Last year, his cookbook The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen won the James Beard Award Winner for Best American Cookbook.

Chef Sherman, Oglala Lakota, is revitalizing indigenous foodways, while helping Native communities to create sustainable economies. Through his nonprofit NATIFS (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems), Sherman is in the process of opening a nonprofit restaurant and education center called the Indigenous Food Lab. Meanwhile, he’s preparing to open a for-profit restaurant in the popular Water Works park pavilion of Minneapolis.

Native Business interviewed Sean Sherman’s about his plans for his Sioux Chef-branded restaurant and first of many Indigenous Food Labs in January. Read the full article here.

For its ninth ever Leadership Awards, the James Beard Foundation is honoring an organization and four individuals, including Sherman, who are making an impact on food sustainability and health. Recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony on May 5 at The Dalcy in Chicago. Gail Simmons, judge on BRAVO’s Emmy-winning series Top Chef, will host the event.

“The Leadership Awards raise awareness of timely industry issues by celebrating the visionaries responsible for creating a healthier, safer, and more equitable and sustainable food system. Honorees can be recognized for showing emerging promise or specific outstanding initiatives, as well as for bodies of work or lifetime achievement,” the organization said in a press release announcing the five winners Tuesday.

As Sherman previously shared with Native Business, his indigenous food initiatives will start in Minneapolis and spread like a ripple effect across Turtle Island and the world. The Sioux Chef team intends to replicate and franchise the Indigenous Food Lab model. These “satellites” will empower indigenous food businesses across North America.  

“We’re hoping to have those Indigenous Food Labs not only in the [continental] U.S., but eventually in Canada, Alaska and Mexico, and to create this large indigenous food network as we grow,” Sherman previously told Native Business.

The New York City-based James Beard culinary foundation states:

“Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, focuses on the revitalization and awareness of indigenous foods systems in a modern culinary context, a mission which led him to create the company the Sioux Chef in 2014. Sherman has studied extensively to determine the foundations of these food systems which include the knowledge of Native American farming techniques, wild food usage and harvesting, land stewardship, food preservation, regional diversity, Native American migrational histories, along with indigenous culture and history in general to gain a full understanding of bringing back a sense of Native American cuisine to today’s world. In 2018, Sean co-founded the nonprofit NATIFS (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems), which this year is in the process of opening a not-for-profit indigenous restaurant and training center called Indigenous Food Lab. His vision is to open Indigenous Food Labs in cities across North America with the focus of helping regional indigenous communities to develop healthy community-based indigenous food businesses, to help bring much-needed economic opportunities, influence healthy culturally appropriate diets and re-identifying true cuisines of the Americas.”

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