Feast Cafe Q+A

November 1, 2019

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Christa Bruneau-Guenther, owner of Feast Cafe
Feast Cafe is an Indigenous Cafe located on Ellice, near the University of Winnipeg. It’s mission is to reconnect Indigenous food and culture with the community. We took the time to ask them a few questions about their business as we prepare for our upcoming MeetUp in December.

What is the story behind the name Feast Café? 

​When Feast was opened, as you know, we really wanted to focus on the community and in Indigenous culture, the Feast is a big part of that. It’s about more than just food and ingredients but about people coming together, to connect, share stories and experiences. Of course the food is also important, sharing the blessings of the land and nourishing our bodies. That’s exactly what Feast is about, feeding the mind, body and spirit.

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Bision Stew

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Butternut Squash Bannock Pizza
Why is cooking and preparing with quality ingredients so important to Feast Cafe? 

​The idea for Feast actually started years ago when Christa was running a daycare, she saw the first hand effects of serving nutritious, balanced meals and the empowerment people got from connecting to and preparing the foods they put into their bodies. This is a big part of Indigenous culture as well, being mindful of what we put into our bodies and grateful for the blessings we get from each hunt or harvest. We pride ourselves on sourcing as many local ingredients as possible, and contributing to our community by supporting local businesses we know the ingredients will be fresh. We also source ingredients from northern communities when possible, our wild rice is from Island Lakes, and we serve Indigenous locally-fished pickerel.

When you opened Feast Café, there was a focus on community and a goal of becoming a pillar in the West End, now since your opening in December 2015, how do you see your restaurant being that pillar for the community?

​Our goal and vision is to reconnect people to Indigenous food and culture, and act as a meeting point in the West End. We’ve had elders visit and cry tears of joy while eating frybread; flavours they haven’t experienced since their youth. Our commitment to the community extends to our employment standards. We regularly work in community organizations to offer work experience and practicums. We are also proud to employ those who’ve faced barriers to employment and are looking for an opportunity to grow and succeed. The community always comes first, whether its offering a hot meal to a displaced community member or welcoming neighborhood kids and teaching them about traditional Indigenous food and nutrition. We wanted our restaurant to be a gathering place and that people from all walks of life have an accessible, affordable way to connect with Indigenous food and culture.

Red Cross reached out to you a few months ago and asked if a disaster would strike, would you be willing to provide your cooking skills to the community, and you agreed, when the snow storm hit in October, you fed 500 evacuees, why was this initiative so important to you, your team and the people you were feeding?

​Our community extends beyond the borders of the city, we are supported by the people of this province, and so if given the opportunity we are happy to support them in return. The Red Cross is located in the west end and we’ve worked for them in the past. A few months ago, they asked us if we would ever be interested in helping out for future emergency or evacuee situations. We were happy to step up, Red Cross covers the cost of food, so really the effort comes down to staff who work extra hours sometimes 12 or 16 hour days to meet the demand of all these extra meals. Most of the evacuees in these situations of people from northern communities, they’re our people and so we’re happy to help make their stay more comfortable and partner with a great organization like the Red Cross.

What are your three favourite items on your menu?

It’s hard to choose three of our favourite items as there are so many, each recipe on the menu was developed by Christa in her home kitchen, things she’s served to her family and friends so they’re all near and dear to her heart.  What we usually recommend to customers is the following:

  • Roasted Butternut Squash Bannock Pizza with a Maple Chipotle Lime Drizzle: This unique dish features one of Christa’s favourite ingredients, and one of the Indigenous three sisters – squash. Its one of the most versatile and underused ingredients out there and it’s a fan favourite for sure. You get to taste traditional ingredients like the squash, bannock, and pine nuts in a delicious pizza, you can’t go wrong!
  • For those wanting to experience Bison, we usually recommend the bison dip for lunch,  it’s loaded with flavour and topped with melted Bothwell cheese, sautéed peppers, red onions, mushrooms, wild blueberry BBQ sauce, on traditional bannock. For dinner, we recommend the roasted bison with traditional seasonings served with potato squash mash, roasted seasonal veggies and our fabulous wild blueberry compote
  • We recently started serving all-day breakfast and we love the eggs bannock, you can have it topped with salmon on traditional bannock, it’s so good. We also offer Eggs banny on squash cakes as an alternative which is also really good.

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Squash Cakes Egg Benny

Member MeetUp @ Feast Cafe
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Monday, December 2
587 Ellice Avenue