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UNCHartED: Native American Southwest Cuisine


Experience the culinary history and flavors of the Southwest!

Celebrate the art of cooking at the Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday, February 20, 2014, 6 – 8p.m. Cooking demonstration, lecture, and book-signing with Dr. Lois Ellen Frank.

$20 MFA members, $35 non-members
Ticket includes two courses, a lecture, and a souvenir recipe card of the dishes prepared. Reservations required by Monday, February 17.  Purchase your tickets HERE or by calling 727.896.2667, ext. 210.

Dr. Lois Ellen Frank is a Santa Fe, New Mexico based Native American Chef, Native American foods historian, culinary anthropologist, author and photographer and her first career experiences were as a professional cook and organic gardener. Ms. Frank has spent over 25 years documenting the foods and life ways of Native American communities throughout the Southwest writing and photographing many articles and papers on the topic. This lengthy immersion in Native American communities culminated in her book, Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations, which won the James Beard Award upon its release. Her recent cookbook, The Taco Table, which Frank did with the Western National Parks Association (WNPA) won the Arizona Glyph award upon it’s release.

Dr. Frank is an adjunct professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), where she teaches students about Indigenous Concepts of Native American Foods from a curriculum she developed. She is a featured cooking instructor at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, and is the chef/owner, along with Native Chef Walter Whitewater of the Diné (Navajo) Nation, of Red Mesa Cuisine. Red Mesa is a Santa Fe company that features catered events and educational workshops using Native American, local and sustainably sourced foods for all kinds of events. She harvests and sources wild ingredients that are hand gathered from Native American nations all over the Americas, which she makes into seasonal menus fit for any palette. Frank educates her clients about the history of these ancestral Native American foods through a variety of venues and events through the food she serves, all with a modern twist.

She received her Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of New Mexico where she focused on the importance of corn as a common thread to all Indigenous nations throughout the Americas. Her PhD dissertation in Culinary Anthropology was completed in July 2011 and is entitled: The Discourse and Practice of Native American Cuisine: Native American chefs and Native American cooks in contemporary Southwest kitchens, which she is planning to publish as her next book, tentatively entitled, “The Turquoise Plate.”

Walter Whitewater was born in Pinon, Arizona and is from the Diné (Navajo) Nation.  He grew up traditionally and began cooking professionally in 1992 in Santa Fe, New Mexico at Cafe Escalera under executive chef, David Tannis.  Chef Tannis was taught to cook by the legendary Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California.

Chef Whitewater has appeared on numerous food TV Network cooking shows featuring foods of the Southwest including Bobby Flay’s Southwest Cuisine and The Secret Life of Southwest. In March of 2009, Chef Whitewater was awarded the James Lewis Award by the BCA in New York to honor Cultural Awareness in the kitchen. Chef Whitewater was the first Native American chef ever to receive this award in the culinary and hospitality industry.


Event Details

February 20, 2014

6–8 pm

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