First Nations Youth Explore Cultural Traditions, Culinary Arts with Renowned Chef


Over the weekend, an extraordinary blend of education and excitement unfurled for a set of First Nations teenagers. They were engaged in a unique exploration of their cultural art, crafts, and culinary traditions, guided by a true maestro of the kitchen.

The educational event, an initiative by the Four Arrows Regional Health Authority (FARHA), brought together 20 young individuals from Island Lake and St. Theresa Point First Nations on Friday. Their aim was to engage and encourage these youth through a succession of workshops in Winnipeg.

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The engagement involved hands-on activities like painting and crafting, alongside culinary demonstrations by celebrated Chef Roger Mooking. Laurie Wood-Ducharme, FARHA’s Director of Administration, underlined the significance of exposing the young minds to these enriching experiences.

Chef Roger Mooking has been associated with ‘Save the Children’, a global nonprofit focusing on child welfare and advocacy, for over a decade. In his ambassadorial capacity, he revealed the importance of cooking as a fundamental skill-set, one which everyone should acquire not just to sustain themselves but to nourish their families as well.

During the event, he enlightened the participants on construction of Indigenous delicacies, using fresh local produce. For Mooking, cooking is a potent cultural binding force. He expressed how the immediate gratification from cooking can significantly boost self-confidence.

The inaugural group that partook in the morning workshop on Saturday found the cooking session to be quite enjoyable and fascinating. Wood-Ducharme recalled the pleasant aroma that filled the room during the session.

Throughout the day, the cooking workshop was supplemented with art lessons given by a local Indigenous artist, and crafting activities led by the FARHA team. Youth participant, 15-year-old Ira Harper, who was working on a painting, shared his excitement about finishing it at home.

The ultimate aim of the event, as Wood-Ducharme pointed out, was to inspire the children to envision a bright future and understand the richness of their cultural inheritance and their individual potential. The hope is that this sense of empowerment and self-reliance would inspire them to dare to dream bigger.