According to chef Tawnya Brant, her goal is to revitalize North American indigenous cuisine. That goal has inspired her to incredible creativity at Yawékon, her small restaurant on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario. Brant, a Mohawk woman of the Tekarihoken Turtle clan, uses locally gathered and her own home-grown ingredients in inventive fusion cuisine.
The menu changes every day. It might may feature phở, the Vietnamese noodle soup, made with bison instead of beef. Another day might bring rabbit enchiladas and wild rice pudding for dessert. Brant extensively uses staples from centuries of indigenous cuisine. Many dishes, such as butternut squash ravioli and chili, would come across as familiar comfort foods to many North American eaters, but it’s worth keeping in mind that 60 percent of the food eaten across the planet—potatoes, corn, beans, etc.—originated in the Americas. Brant’s cooking just underscores that fact.
Brant opened Yawékon in November 2020 in her hometown of Ohswé:ken, after a life spent in the food industry. The restaurant’s name means “It tastes good!” in the Mohawk language, an encouragement for people to come sample her cooking. As Brant herself writes, “I am branching out and sharing my Indigenous food knowledge with anyone willing to learn.”
Know Before You Go
Yawékon is open from 11am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. The daily menu is available on Instagram.