Ahnii, tansi, boozhoo; welcome to Kū-Kŭm Kitchen. In the heart of midtown Toronto, taste re-imagined Indigenous cuisine with a fine dining twist from the creative culinary talents of chef Joseph Shawana. Cree from ‘grandmother’ Kū-Kŭm serves up exciting modern takes on traditional standards; elk loin is served sous-vide, foraged mushrooms served with bannock crostini and sorbets infused with pine needles and citrus.
Raised on the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Reserve located on Manitoulin Island on Lake Huron, Chef Shawana experienced the power that food has to bring people together from a young age. He began his culinary journey with the strict philosophy of utilizing the entirety an ingredient to bring its full range of flavours to the palate.
During his childhood, Chef Shawana, alongside his close friends, spent countless days playing outdoors until the sun went down. Together they would make a game of foraging in the fields and forests of Manitoulin Island, searching for the treats of nature, including mushrooms, wild herbs, cedar tree sap, and also indulging in a purple root they called "candy" (known commonly as Canadian wild liquorice, as Chef Shawana would later learn). For Chef Shawana, these foraging games provided insight into the myriad of gifts Mother Earth provides on a daily basis and informed his whole-ingredient philosophy.
Bestowed with these experiences, Chef Shawana has carried with him his whole-ingredient philosophy throughout his many years in the culinary world, ensuring every ingredient is carefully selected and entirely respected. Every part of our bounty contributes not only to the flavour but to the health of each dish he creates. Come join Kū-Kŭm Kitchen and experience the culinary story of Canadian Indigenous heritage.