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Indigenous Cuisine finds a new restaurant home in Six Nations

"Yawékon by Chef Tawnya Brant" will launch this autumn in the village of Ohswé:ken, at the prime retail location of the Iroquois Village Plaza.

Well the day is here! The day I've waited my entire chef career for. The day that I would get to proclaim, “I am a restaurateur”! I am proud to announce Yawékon by Chef Tawnya Brant will launch this autumn in the village of Ohswé:ken, at the prime retail location of the Iroquois Village Plaza.

I have to admit, I was among the many in our community to be saddened by the retirement of the proprietors of T-N-T’s; a long established food counter that has been an institution in Ohswé:ken my entire life. I had been on the waiting list in Six Nations for a retail rental through our commercial leasing for many years (since before I was a mother!!) and after hearing about Bon Hill’s retirement I was shocked to find myself at the top of the list; continuing the legacy of good eats in that landmark spot in our plaza.

Yawékon by Chef Tawnya Brant has catered to the masses across southern Ontario since 2015; even before I had completed my company’s business case when I earned my diploma in Aboriginal Business Management at Mohawk college. Prepping food in rented kitchens, lugging chafing dishes and drink dispensers across the Homeland to satisfy the hunger of palates craving Indigenous cuisine; while setting up I'm often asked, “Where can we get your food if I’m not at an event?” Well now I'm proud to have an answer for that question!

19th century-inspired Haudenosaunee Popcorn pudding

Yawékon by Chef Tawnya Brant will be sharing food that I love and have had the privilege to produce over my 26-year chef career. I'm excited to share more Haudenosaunee cuisine with our community; to celebrate who we are and add another link in the chain of re-strengthening our culture in our community spaces. Filling our bellies with real food, whole food, our food, in a way I've come to develop as my own cuisine. My chef’s career that spans 2 decades, establishments in Ontario & New York, and Indigenous food revitalization work across North America, has become a collection of ideas and experiences that I look forward to plating in our community every day.

In that time, I’ve found as an Indigenous chef how critical the work of procuring Indigenous ingredients and forming strong partnerships with Indigenous ingredient producers is in sustaining an Indigenous restaurant. But I’ve found that when a venue is established in the community, the drive & viability for local growers, farmers & meat producers to succeed grows. I look forward to bringing those local, fresh & Indigenous food ingredients to my plates every season!

You can look forward to a true “Turtle Island on a Plate” in Six Nations!

One other thought that has been clear to me as a chef; supporting our neighbor Nations food producers is both honouring and strengthening again the legacy of our Indigenous Trade Routes. I look forward to bringing you market-ready ingredients produced by our relatives across Turtle Island, who have amassed incredible food manufacturing companies, both tribal-owned and tribal member-owned. You can look forward to a true “Turtle Island on a Plate” in Six Nations!

All things have purpose. This is my opportunity to share my passion for Haudenosaunee and Indigenous cuisine, as well as some personal favorites from good old fashioned home cooking to southern BBQ but always with my own Haudenosaunee twist! I'm so excited and so ready for this journey to begin. Yawékon has grown to be a catering company with a restaurant home base! I can’t believe I am saying those words!!

I invite you to join us this autumn in the heart of Ohswé:ken to find out what ideas we are serving up! Because of COVID-19 safety precautions, we are being attentive to when we can be fully operational publicly, but please check back to regularly for your invitation to our official launch date this autumn, as well as our inaugural menu that will be available for catering and curbside pick-up.

Even if our doors can’t be open to you literally, we still look forward to filling up your belly!

~Chef Tawnya

Pan-seared Bay of Quinte Mohawk Trout cakes

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