I was born in Alaska and grew up in a family of good home cooks, eventually spending Jr. High- & High School in the rural Upper Midwest. I started making homemade tofu around age 16, and gathered a lot of wild foods with my family. I began doing a lot of canning and preserving around that time, which I still do to this day. By age 20 I started cooking out of Julia Child- the famous French cookbooks and mastered a fairly sizeable repertoire.

By the time I was 26, I had traveled in the Caribbean and studied regional foods there, and then went on to China to live for ½ year, where I studied food and language. On returning to the US in 1988, I became a worker-owner collective member at the New Riverside Café in Minneapolis. We each learned all aspects of running a professional code-kitchen, including marketing and strategic long range planning. I was invited to cook at the Governor’s mansion, when I did a food-benefit event around that time. At the Riv we  specialized in developing the baked goods/pastries, introducing both vegan-offerings and fine pastry to our menu. This included gluten free and macrobiotic menu lines. At the Riverside café, a regular single shift of baking could include making 8 cheesecakes, 3 honey-based cakes, 2 fine tortes, a 36-serving gluten free fruit crisp, 12 doz cookies, 6 pies, 40 bar-type cookies and occasionally other catering orders, including wedding cakes.

I have cheffed at Lucia’s in uptown Minneapolis, which focuses on regional cuisine and local/seasonal menus – and I was a baker at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts café around 1995.  Since 1990, I have primarily been involved in non-profit work, with an emphasis on environmental justice work (including food justice & food sovereignty) and cultural revitalization. During this time I have done everything from personal cheffing for charitable events, to food-writing and history on this blog:  Richard’s Table.   I have been interviewed on national radio as a Native chef, and I plan to complete a cookbook in the coming year.

I grew up with Native foods as well as classic American cookery, and I have been working with my family, assembling a cookbook. I have a personal library of about 160 cookbooks, history and volumes on technique: These include vegetarian, ethnic and cultural. I am experienced in Asian (Chinese, Thai, Indian), European (French, Italian, German, East European, English Isles), some African cuisines, which I learned from a cook from West Africa; Central-, and some South American cuisine; historic American cooking (1600- 19th century); I know how to make fine confections (candy making), bread production which includes everything from sourdough to regional European artisan breads, etc.

At home I do everything from processing my own lard, tallow and soap, to gardening specialty and heritage foods.