- [Brian] When people talk about Native American food, or indigenous cuisine, they specifically go to fry bread or Indian tacos.
Cooks and chefs like us, we're looking beyond that.
We're breaking those barriers.
Depending on where you're at in the Americas, the food cultures are different.
But we're speaking our own narratives, and bringing those in the forefront.
(upbeat music) - [Kala] My name is Kala Domingo.
I am from Ka'a'awa, on the island of Oahu.
Myself, and my father, have been invited to come cook a pop-up dinner, along with two other indigenous chefs.
- Okay, rabbit, venison.
- [Brian] My name is Brian Yazzie.
I'm Navajo or Diné.
Founder and now chef of Intertribal Foodways.
- [Kala] This is the first time I met Brian.
I researched him a little bit before I came, and the work that he does looks fantastic.
He seems like a happy-go-lucky, go-get-'em guy.
- Would you like a try, a taste of this?
- It's a palm tree fruit syrup, from this area originally.
It's one of the solely indigenous palm trees to California.
- Is it similar to palm wine?
It's just in the same date family.
- You know, the same small raisins and stuff.
- Got it.
- So, yeah, this was gifted yesterday from a local, one of the tribal members in the area.
- It's pretty strong.
- Yeah, it's good.
- [Hillel] I've known Brian for about two and a half years.
He's a member of the i-collectiv which is a non-profit full of indigenous cooks and chefs and tea keepers and knowledge keepers and artists.
We are in contact, basically, everyday.
- [Woman] Trash?
- [Kala] Trash.
My didn't help me come up with the menu actually.
I actually asked him a couple of times but he was like, "No, you got it, you got it."
So, the menu's on me.
I really felt like I had a lot of pressure on me because I only got two dishes to represent myself and my people, so I gotta bring it.
I really wanted to recreate and reconstruct the feeling of opening the imu.
The star of the dish, of course, is the pork we actually cook in the imu.
I brought with me some banana leaf, because that's what we use to cover the pig when it's in the imu, and, finally, right before service, I brought a smoke gun with me to infuse a dish with some kiawe smoke.
Kiawe is a type of mesquite; the same wood that we use in the imu itself.
So, it'll be recreating that smell, that taste, the eye burning when you open the imu.
(laughs) (quirky music) - [Brian] I'm doing agave roasted rabbit tacos.
So, I'm just tying up the stomach area filled with ingredients before it goes on the grill.
So, we have rants, wild onions, oyster mushrooms, cranberries, white sage, and California bay laurel.
I'm a big fan of tacos, you know, regardless if it's Tuesday or not, so everyday is Taco Tuesday for me.
- I'm doing the soup and salad courses.
I'm cooking a bean salad and it's Painted Like a Horse Pawnee black beans, white tepary beans from Ramona Farms.
And then my Mormon squash soup with Lakota popcorn with duck fat and maple glaze.
(upbeat music) Yesterday, I came from the airport and just started to cook.
I feel good about prep today.
My focus is on indigenous food is that it's not complicated.
I really like to let the food just, like, shine on its own.
Pressure to cook a meal for some indigenous people, some people in the film industry, some other people who I don't know!
- [Brian] So, the menu here is an agave roasted rabbit with jicama tortilla, with a roasted poblano salsa on top with hemp seeds.
- [Everyone] Thank you!
(lively conversation) - The rabbit in the jicama tortillas were amazing!
Rabbit is something that my people eat, so even though it's a different tribe, it was amazing to eat rabbit in jicama tortilla.
- [Brian] The type of style I do, I call "Cooking in Two Worlds".
The ancestral knowledge of hundreds of years ago, and using modern technique to bridge that gap.
(inspiring music) - [Hillel] Hello.
My name is Hillel Echo-Hawk.
It was important to me that you had these beans because they haven't been around for about 75 years.
On the, what we call the Long Walk, we lost a lot of seeds.
And my auntie Deb Echo-Hawk, she started the Pawnee Seed Preservation Project, and she went out and she found these seeds.
She went and searched in Grandmas' cabins.
Everything in here is made with love.
Everything in here was grown with love.
Everything in here is made with resistance to colonialism.
And I think that, that is a huge part of our story.
- I never had any food like this, especially those beans.
I've never heard of them.
You know, and I cook with a lot of heritage and heirloom beans but none of things I've heard of.
- When you put a plate of food in front of somebody, and you tell the story of that food, it's like a light bulb goes off in their head.
And they understand because everybody understands food.
(inspiring music) - So, this stump first and then the two leaves on top, criss-cross.
My dad, he's always in the kitchen.
If I'm in the kitchen, he's in the kitchen with me.
So, this is really my first, kinda, freedom to plan my own dish and to have a plated dinner without him.
That was kind of a milestone for me.
Aloha, hello everyone.
My name is Kala, this is my loving father right here.
He's one of my greatest mentors and we kicked him out of the kitchen so he could relax.
(laughter) 'Cause he's a hard worker.
So, today, for you, I wanted to recreate what we do back at home often.
We call it an imu, which is an underground oven.
The main protein is our imu kalua pua'a, which was cooked in the imu, and right under that, I wanted to recreate, right above the hot rocks, we placed our cut banana stumps.
It gives the pig both flavor and it helps to steam the meat as well.
And please don't eat it.
Its not edible.
You can if you want, but you'll be flossing your teeth for three days.
(laughter) (lively conversation) - Each dish had it's own meaning and it's own story.
My favorite was probably the pork because it was really tender.
- [Hillel] I think it's important to come together and cook with other indigenous chefs because, one, we're three percent of the population.
That, in of itself, is just like a mind boggling number, considering that we were millions.
- [Kala] In a social, cultural sense, Native Americans and Hawaiians really can connect in many ways, despite our differences, because they struggle with the same things that we do, you know, language loss, land loss, culture loss, population loss.
We're both indigenous peoples so we need to stick together and we need to work on revitalizing ourselves.
- We connected.
Once we all met, it was just a family from there.
You know, we're all just talking about our next move or what we can do within this food movement.