Chef Sean Sherman

March 19, 2021

Chef Sean Sherman, founder of The Sioux Chef, discusses the (r)evolution of Indigenous food systems in North America.

Developing his expertise from within his community and through three decades of experience in the culinary arts, Sean Sherman has set a new standard for engagement and innovation in Indigenous food ways. In the realm of fine cuisine, he has received the highest accolades, most recently being honored with both a 2018 James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook and also, in 2019, James Beard Leadership Award.

Since he opened The Sioux Chef in 2014, Sherman has engaged in efforts to promote modern Indigenous foods and to engage and enlighten a broader public to questions of vibrant contemporary Native culture, the unique and richly regional cuisines of Dakota and Minnesota, and practices that sustain community physical and environmental health.


Chef Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, born in Pine Ridge, SD, has been cooking across the US and Mexico over the past 30 years, and has become renowned nationally and internationally in the culinary movement of indigenous foods. His main focus has been on the revitalization and evolution of indigenous foods systems throughout North America. Chef Sean has studied on his own extensively to determine the foundations of these food systems and gain a full understanding of bringing back a sense of Native American cuisine to today’s world. In 2014, he opened The Sioux Chef as a caterer and food educator in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. He and his business partner Dana Thompson also designed and opened the Tatanka Truck, which featured 100% pre-contact foods of the Dakota and Minnesota territories.

In October 2017, Sean was able to perform the first decolonized dinner at the James Beard House in Manhattan along with his team. His first book, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen was awarded the James Beard medal for Best American Cookbook for 2018 and was chosen one of the top ten cookbooks of 2017 by the LA Times and San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the Smithsonian Magazine. Also that year, Chef Sean was selected as a Bush Fellow, as well as receiving the 2019 Leadership Award by the James Beard Foundation. The Sioux Chef team continues with their mission to help educate and make indigenous foods more accessible to as many communities as possible through the recently founded nonprofit North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS). Through this entity, Sean sees this vision as even more relevant in the time of COVID. Educating the world on localizing food systems is critical and we believe that we can leverage NATIFS to expedite this mission. Learn more at

This season was generously supported by the following friends and partners:

Categories: History, Social Justice