Colonial Culinary Canada: Kitchens, Cookbooks and Restaurants as Sites of Indigenous Resurgence

Authors: Kimberly Hill-Tout*,
Topics: Cultural Geography, Food Systems, Canada
Keywords: culinary colonialism, Indigenous resurgence, Indigenous food sovereignty, collaborative research, literature review, mediums of cultural revival
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 22
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In October 2017, Toronto Indigenous restaurant, Kū-Kum (“grandmother”), sparked controversy over the addition of seal meat tartare to their menu. Kū-kum has since closed; and, it reflects only one of the various Indigenous-founded restaurants across Canada (Turtle Island) that have not been met with economic and gastronomic interest, despite the commercialization of Indigenous food items and culture for the advancement of national and non-Indigenous profit. Indigenous Peoples’ gastronomies are commodified in the colonial context and therefore experience culinary colonialism. However, despite the tension in Indigenous cuisine re-entering the culinascape, the efforts and successes of Indigenous kitchens, cookbooks, and restaurants signal potential sites of Indigenous resurgence. Given the gap in understanding of Canada’s culinary scene as colonial, my proposed research article uses a literature review to provide the context in proposing how mediums of cuisine revival (i.e. kitchens, cookbooks, and restaurants) contribute to advancing Indigenous food sovereignty and shed light onto culinary colonialism and Indigenous resurgence in Canada. I do this by examining the gap in three bodies of literature: colonialism and cuisine, Indigenous food sovereignty, and gastronomic landscapes; and, by reflecting on informal discussions with Indigenous chefs. I conclude by presenting a preliminary collaborative research idea that will examine the potential for Indigenous resurgence through culinary revival.

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