In a recent interview, Sarah Penton of CBC Radio West told Joe that she could “detect in him a high level of joy and love for food.” That’s just the tip of the iceberg! Joe radiates, no, explodes with joy, charisma, enthusiasm and positivity.
Joe is focusing this energy into his new business, Aboriginal Joe’s, centered on healthy and culturally relevant staple foods. “Vegetable forward, nutrient-dense delicious Indigenous ingredients” like sunchokes, corn and wild rice will be cornerstones of his culinary creations.
As an artist, Joe recognizes the deep cultural significance of the Three Sisters technology. “Corn was one of the first cultivated crops – once we learned to do that, we didn’t have to run around as much and hunt, trap, fish and gather food. We had time to pursue art.”
Joe has invested himself in both the culinary and cultural traditions of his ancestors. “I’m learning more about my heritage through this journey. I was adopted and growing up, there wasn’t a connect to my culture.” So he is connecting in ways that are meaningful to him. “Everyone assumes that I hunt and trap and fish, but I never learned how to do those things – the COOKING of food is how I connect to my culture.” It is also how Joe gives back to others. A key ingredient in Joe’s cooking is generous helpings of love and kindness. “My passion for cooking comes from sharing – it’s my way to do something for somebody.”
“I want to share everything that I learn; it’s storytelling, passing on values from generation to generation and FOOD IS MEDICINE. I can look at the three previous generations, I have the opportunity to do something that might affect three generations into the future.”
“I’m not the guru. I’m not the expert, but I’m on this journey. And so people will be learning alongside me as I learn things and share them,” says Joe.