NEW CREDIT – Simple food, made great: that’s what guests can expect Chef Rich Francis to prepare at the Healthy Roots Dinner this Saturday.
The dinner, hosted by the team that developed the Healthy Roots 12-week challenge, offers guests a three-course meal made up of ingredients that are typical of the Haudenosaunee diet before European contact — the same menu that the nine participants of the challenge have been asked to follow.
“It’s going to be a meal that points to de-colonization,” said Francis. “A meal that fits the description of Healthy Roots, bringing families back to the dinner table.”
For the past few weeks, those who have been following along have seen snippets of the challenge through the participants’ journeys. This dinner gives community members a chance to join in and experience a taste of that journey in a warm, inviting environment.
“We don’t want people to hear about the dinner and turn away from it for sounding too fancy,” said dietitian Kelly Gordon. “The food is going to be expertly cooked, yet in an atmosphere where everyone can feel welcome.”
Gordon helped co-ordinate the event which costs $10 per person and has two dinner seatings — one at 5:00 p.m., the other at 6:30 p.m. She hopes that guests who have purchased tickets will come to enjoy the food as well as the company of those around.
“It’s the food of our ancestors,” said Gordon. “It’s an opportunity for individuals who may not regularly eat these foods to really understand how delicious they can be in their natural state.”
Reading the ingredient list from the Healthy Roots challenge can be intimidating for someone who has not followed it before. Chef Francis wants people to be more confident in how they prepare food.
“I’m trying to make food more approachable,” said Francis. “Plus it’s a really great deal, normally a meal like this would cost diners between $40 and $50.
I’m going to explain to guests why I do what I do and why it’s so important for us to appreciate these foods.”
The meal is going to be centred around great tasting proteins and vegetables. Even though the dinner has the word ‘healthy’ in it, there will be no lack in flavour.
“Healthy can still be decadent, flavourful and fun,” said Gordon. “It’s all about how we perceive it and how it’s interpreted by the chef.”
Chef Francis is the chef and owner of Seventh Fire Indigenous Cuisine, he was also a finalist
on the fourth season of Top Chef Canada.
The dinner will be held at the New Credit Community Hall on Jan. 30 and will have live entertainment from musical guest Logan Staats.
Tickets for this event are sold out, but the Healthy Roots committee will feature a similar dinner at the Healthy Roots finale event scheduled for the end of March. For updates on this and other Healthy Roots offerings, search for “Healthy Roots” on Facebook.