Across Canada, museums and art galleries are using their restaurants’ menus to provide guests with an immersive educational experience that goes beyond historic displays and gallery spaces.
At Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park in Alberta, Canada, visitors discover the rich cultural heritage of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation and its people at this eco-friendly museum through immersive experiences, such as tipi sleepovers, and through its dining room.
Chef Sandra Broad Scalplock draws from the region’s Indigenous culture, giving visitors a chance to experience cuisine inspired by traditional foods in a contemporary setting. The menu features dishes such as smoked bison poutine with juniper gravy and hand-cut fries, charcuterie boards filled with wild salmon, venison carpaccio, thinly sliced bannock crisps and house-made berry jams.
“Saskatoon berries, choke cherries and silver buffalo berries grow right along the Bow River at the foot of the hill,” says Broad Scalplock. “We go out back and gather them ourselves.” This industrious chef also boils wild berries down into syrups to make refreshing and naturally flavoured chilled drinks.
Broad Scalplock draws on traditional food preparation techniques she learnt during childhood to craft her regional dishes. “My grandparents picked berries in the summer and dried them to use through the winter,” she says. “And my mother taught me how to cut meat and dry it for pemmican, which is made with pounded dried meat and berries.”
This chef loves sharing her knowledge, especially with younger generations, to help keep culinary culture alive. “Our traditional ways of eating are way healthier than fast food,” she explains. “For example, bison is lean meat, and our bannock doesn’t have preservatives in it because we make it fresh each day.”
As visitors tuck into chef Broad Scalplock’s dishes, they get to enjoy spectacular scenery from the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park restaurant patio.
This article was written by Valerie Howes and adapted for SAY Magazine. The original article was featured in the May 2019 issue of WestJet Magazine. To view the entire article visit: https://www.westjetmagazine.com/story/article/blackfoot-crossing-food