Chef Johl Whiteduck Ringuette is on a mission to bring back traditional food to the GTA’s Indigenous community. After owning a catering business for over a decade, Ringuette decided to make the transition to a storefront. NishDish is the result, a restaurant located on Bloor West that serves traditional Anishnawbe (or Anishinaabe) food.
NishDish is a quaint and casual cafe that also works as a catering business. Its long tables and benches offer an intimate space. Whether you’re dropping in for a traditional Anishnawbe delicacy or a fresh cup of coffee, Ringuette’s passionate staff will make sure you feel welcomed.
Ringuette’s restaurant also doubles as a learning environment. Classes, workshops, and talks are often held in the space to educate its surrounding community on Indigenous culture. For Ringuette, this was the crux of the reason for opening NishDish. After working closely with Aboriginal people for many years, he wanted to do more for the community.
“I watched dockets of Aboriginal people who migrate to the city [and] find themselves in conflict with the law quite easily, through no fault of their own but through systemic injustices towards Aboriginal people,” said Ringuette. “Watching that through many years and trying to help one person at a time get out of custody every Tuesday or every Friday, I decided something more had to be done in Toronto. So I went to see my medicine teachers at Anishnawbe Health Toronto.”
As result, Ringuette participated in a ceremony where he was able to reconnect with his roots and learn what it meant to be Anishnawbe. Through this ceremony he discovered that he had a “gift with the traditional food” and decided to use this knowledge to reconnect his community with traditional Indigenous food.
“All of the food have teachings to them,” explains Ringuette.
For Ringuette, much of what he does is about “reclaiming histories that we already knew.”
“We’re all aware that something went very, very wrong in the past and continues to happen to this day in many different ways, but we’re all ready for a change.”
This Anishnawbe Chef is reintroducing traditional Indigenous Food to Toronto
Posted by Indie88Toronto on Thursday, June 1, 2017