Canada's leading indigenous chef to host pop-up dinners in Vancouver with Truth and Reconciliation on the menu

Former Top Chef competitor Rich Francis designed the Cooking for Reconciliation series

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      Former Top Chef Canada finalist Rich Francis is considered the country’s leading First Nations culinary talent, and he’s on a mission to redefine Aboriginal cuisine.

      That pursuit will bring him to Vancouver this weekend, when he’s hosting a series of pop-up dinners.

      Francis, a member of the Tetlit Gwich’in and Tuscarora Nations who’s originally from the Northwest Territories, is the driving force behind Cooking for Reconciliation.

      It’s described as a "candid journey toward Truth and Reconciliation using indigenous foods to create a better understanding of pre-colonial Indigenous culture and the impact of colonization".

      Dinners take place on Friday and Saturday (March 3 and 4) at Skwachays Lodge (31 West Pender Street). The menu will incorporate Aboriginal medicines and preserves and feature Ocean Wise-certified seafood cooked in traditional methods.

      “Our traditional foods have the ability to nourish and cultivate awareness and compassion,” Francis said in a release. “That is the real heart and soul of Indigeniety."

      Francis runs a catering company and restaurant in Saskatoon called 7th Fire. He’s also filming a series about the culture, history, and spirituality of the Yuquot, a coastal area of Nootka Island that’s home to the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation. For that project, he connected with actor Duane Howard, a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth and a star of The Revenant. The series will be released on YouTube in April 2017.

      Tickets to Cooking for Reconciliation are available at

      Chef Rich Francis has travelled across the country to learn how food was prepared before Europeans arrived.
      Rich Francis.