Canadian-born Bill Alexander started cooking professionally at the age of 15, going on to earn a culinary degree and honing his skills in apprenticeships from Italy to Australia to Japan. After returning to Calgary, in Alberta, he assumed the executive chef role at the Grey Eagle Resort, an expansive hotel on Tsuut’ina Nation land. The masterful gourmand—himself part Mohawk and Iroquois—took somewhat of a red pen to the hotel restaurant’s run-of-the-mill menu. Today, Little Chief is an upscale restaurant at the intersection of time-honored classics and First Nations’ cuisine.
From top to bottom, the menu is stamped with indigenous influence. Wines from Indigenous World Winery and Osoyoos—both Native-owned—neighbor with saskatoon berry–laced cocktails across the drinks menu. The restaurant’s “Heritage Bread Board” sports an array of fry bread and bannock with spreads of Tsuut’ina honey and smoked pemmican butter, while a smoked bison poutine offers a twist on the Canadian late-night favorite. A “Smoke-signal Flatbread” features a stack of smoked and cured bison pastrami, wild boar, and confit chicken. Even on the “Hotel Classic Menu,” Little Chief’s service to their less-adventurous clientele, wild boar gets candied for a chicken-and-brie sandwich and apricot-glazed for a salad.
Don’t let the bright, cosmopolitan interior fool you. Little Chief is a taste of Calgary before the pomp.