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Mashpee Wampanoag Chef Makes History with Prestigious James Beard Award

Dressed in traditional Native American dress and with tears in her eyes, Sherry Pocket made history as the first Native American woman to win the James Beard Award for culinary excellence.

Pocket, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe Announced as Northeast’s Best Chef at the annual awards ceremony Monday night at Chicago’s Lyric Opera. Known as the “Oscars of Food”, the Beard Awards are recognized as one of the culinary industry’s most prestigious honors, recognizing chef excellence and community service.

At her restaurant, Sly Fox Den Too, located at 4349 South County Trail in Charlestown, Rhode Island, Pocknett creates Indigenous cuisine inspired by the Wampanoag culture. The restaurant has developed a reputation for foraged, caught and hunted produce, including venison, rabbit, quahog, fish, and fresh vegetables and herbs.

Before starting Sly Fox Den Too, Mr. Pocket said, Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center. During her stay there, she overhauled her menu, which ranges from burgers and hot dogs to traditional Indigenous dishes such as sea turtle soup, bluefish and venison.

Pocketnet is the first Beard Award nominee and only the second Native American to win a National Beard Award in the past two years. Owamuni is a Minneapolis Native-owned restaurant founded by Sean Sherman (Oglala Lakota) and Dana Thompson (Mdewacanton Dakota, Warpeton Siseton). Awarded as Best New Restaurant In 2022.

Sherman attended this year’s Beard Awards and greeted Pocket with a congratulatory hug as he walked down the aisle to receive the award.

Onstage, Pocket gave an emotional speech, saying he represented all the tribes of the Northeast and did not expect the honor of receiving the Beard Award.

She also revealed to the audience that she is battling breast cancer, recently finished chemotherapy and will soon have surgery.

“It’s all over and we’re just waiting to move on,” she said. told CT Insider said in an interview after the award ceremony. “I just want to cook, I just want to create. I just want people to know that the Wampanoag people are here and we’re not going anywhere. We’re still cooking, we’re still cooking. “Moving, grooming, and continuing to beat James Beard” award. “

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About the author

Kairi Berg
author: Kairi BergEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. JavaScript must be enabled to view.

staff reporter

Kaili Berg (Aleut) is a member of the Alutiiq/Sugpiaq Nation and a shareholder of Koniag, Inc. She is a staff reporter for Native News Online and Tribal Business News. Berg, who is based in Wisconsin, previously worked as a reporter for the Hochunk Nation and Hochuk Wallach. Although she originally attended nursing school, she changed her major when she found her passion in communications at Western Technical College in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

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