'I Have Elders Who Come Here And Cry': The Inspiration Behind Winnipeg's Feast Café

Christa Bruneau-Guenther's restaurant has become a destination for others hoping to learn more about Indigenous food and culture.

As the owner of a daycare in Winnipeg, Christa Bruneau-Guenther of Manitoba’s Peguis First Nation just wanted to her charges to eat healthy, tasty food at lunch and snack time.

Then, in 2010, when Health Canada published a food guide for First Nations, Inuit and Métis, inspiration struck: What if the kids she cared for, many of whom were Indigenous, could reconnect with their culture through food, too?

Bruneau-Guenther started growing squash, beans and corn in their community garden, developed recipes with those ingredients and taught the children how to prep these meals designed to nurture both body and soul.

25 Canadian Women Changing The Way We Eat Now25 Canadian Women Changing The Way We Eat Now

That project has since blossomed into Feast Café Bistro, a community-minded, full-service, budget-friendly restaurant in downtown Winnipeg, where Bruneau-Guenther serves dishes such as roasted butternut squash pizza and Indian tacos made with bison chili and a crispy, fried bannock shell.

“There’s something special about being able to go to a restaurant and seeing your people serve you and experiencing your culture there,” she says. “I have elders who come here and cry because they haven’t had fried bread since their mother made it before they went to residential schools.”

The bistro, which employs a number of Indigenous staff, has become a meeting place and a destination for others hoping to learn more about Indigenous food and culture. And soon, Feast will boast a breakfast program for local schoolkids, meaning Bruneau-Guenther’s work will come full circle.

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