When one of the aims of your TV series is sussing out the best First Nations food, there’s one Okanagan stop that can’t be missed.
That is the Kekuli Cafe on Louie Drive, in Westbank, which is owned by Sharon Bond.
“It’s the best bannock in Canada, perhaps, so that was great,” said Dan Hayes who along with Cree bush cook Art Napoleon, host the TV program Moose Meat and Marmalade, an APTN culinary series that’s headed into its third season.
“Wherever we go, we love to find interesting things that are going on in communities, particularly First Nation communities. And we love big success stories. Here is a restaurant that’s a big success story and it’s a lot of fun, with great people and its a great part of the community.”
While the cafe and its devoted following are reason enough to stop in the city for an episode to be aired soon, its not the duos usual fare.
In Season 2, which started airing this week, audiences see Napoleon and Hayes travel from B.C. to Ontario and over to England and Scotland in Europe, where they explore a host of classic and not-so-classic cuisines while cooking with guests including the famous UK game hunter Mike Robinson and the eccentric wild rice farmer James Whetung from Northern Ontario.
They venture into some extreme food tastings like singed porcupine, investigate seaweed farming, and dive for the world’s best scallops off the Isle of Mull, Scotland.
“We find some amazing things, and it’s wonderful,” said Hayes.
“We all know the sadder stories, where fast food is taking over, so it’s great to find people hunting, fishing and trapping and using those resources.”
Hayes is a chef, but he considers himself first and foremost a hunter and fisherman, so he’s fascinated to learn from Indigenous people who “really live as part of nature.”
“They didn’t manage or regulate nature as we are today,” he said. “That’s fabulous for me to see.”
That focus, he said, is what differentiates Moose Meat and Marmelade from other cooking shows.
“What we ‘re doing is so different and it’s so raw and real,” he said. “We don’t sugar coat it.”
And there’s a goodnatured tension between himself, a tweed wearing English chef, and Napoleon, a hunter-gatherer TV producer, that lends itself to a different kind of exploration of cuisine.
“Sitting around a campfire cooking meat that you just shot…I can’t think of a better way for two people to connect,” he said.
Kekuli cafe will be featured t 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 2 on APTN West. Those who have APTN HD then will get the program at 4:30 p.m. Check local APTN listings to be sure.