Potawatomi’s Na­tive Amer­i­can cui­sine stresses indige­nous in­gre­di­ents

Wisconsin Gazette - - Opinion - By Michael Muck­ian Con­tribut­ing writer

When Dream Dance Steak, the high­end restau­rant in­side Potawatomi Ho­tel & Casino, hosts its an­nual Na­tive Amer­i­can Her­itage Din­ner in Novem­ber, the likely theme will be indige­nous Hawai­ian cui­sine.

Should the Mil­wau­kee restau­rant se­cure the tal­ents of the right Hawai­ian chef, the sev­enth an­nual din­ner would show­case the is­lands’ indige­nous foods and prepa­ra­tions — well be­yond the typ­i­cal tourist fare of poy, pineap­ple and Kalua pork. The lat­ter is fa­mously pro­duced dur­ing a two-day rit­ual that re­quires an en­tire pig to be pre­pared and then roasted while buried in the ground.

But the grow­ing num­ber of the restau­rant’s Na­tive cui­sine fans won’t have to wait that long. Some of the most pop­u­lar dishes from last fall’s Ojibwe Na­tive Amer­i­can din­ner menu and other Na­tive in­gre­di­ents will start ap­pear­ing this spring on the reg­u­lar menus of Dream Dance Steak and, to a lesser de­gree, The Fire Pit Sports Bar & Grill, thanks to both the tal­ents and her­itage of ex­ec­u­tive chef Mike Chris­tensen.

Al­though a na­tive of Chicago, Chris­tensen is a mem­ber of the Lac du Flam­beau Band of Lake Su­pe­rior Chippewa In­di­ans in north­ern Wis­con­sin. In ad­di­tion to Na­tive in­flu­ences, he has 35 years of restau­rant ex­pe­ri­ence, a de­gree from the Culi­nary In­sti­tute of Amer­ica and des­ig­na­tion as a cer­ti­fied ex­ec­u­tive chef from the Amer­i­can Culi­nary Fed­er­a­tion.

Dream Dance Steak chef Chase An­der­son, an­other CIA grad­u­ate, also will lead the Na­tive foods ini­tia­tive. Al­though of Scan­di­na­vian her­itage, An­der­son spent much of his youth on the Oneida Na­tion reser­va­tion near Green Bay, where his mother worked.


Dream Dance’s sim­ply broiled Nor­we­gian salmon, sautéed spinach, wild-rice pi­laf and maple-mus­tard sauce.

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