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Sean Sherman

“A lot of Indigenous populations have been left with a perpetuated poverty, with very little access to their own traditional foods and an immense amount of health disparity when it comes to food access to nutrition access.  We see a very clear path of helping people to preserve that knowledge and bring it back into their main lives and to really celebrate more regional and community-based food systems.”

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About Sean Sherman

Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, born in Pine Ridge, SD, has been cooking across the US and internationally. His main culinary focus is revitalizing Indigenous food systems in a modern culinary context. Sean's determination to understand the foundations of these food systems include understanding the knowledge of Native American farming techniques, wild food usage and harvesting, land stewardship, salt and sugar making, hunting and fishing, food preservation, Native American migrational histories, fundamental cooking techniques, and Native culture and history.

In 2014, he founded The Sioux Chef, a food education and catering operation in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. The following year, he debuted Tatanka Truck, a food truck featuring pre-colonized foods of the Dakota and Minnesota territories in partnership with the Little Earth Community of United Tribes in Minneapolis. Sean also founded the nonprofit North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS) and its public-facing training center, Indigenous Food Labs, at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. Most recently, in June 2021, Owamni by The Sioux Chef opened its doors in Minneapolis, showcasing a decolonized dining experience and menu of Indigenous North American foods. In its first year, Owamni has been recognized by The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Esquire, Food & Wine, and Vanity Fair.

Chef Sean and his vision of modern Indigenous foods are featured in numerous articles, radio segments, and educational dinners at esteemed associations like the James Beard House in Manhattan. He has also shared his knowledge with audiences at Yale, the Culinary Institute of America, the United Nations, and many more. Sean has received accolades for his work, such as the 2015 First Peoples Fund Fellowship, 2018 Bush Foundation Fellowship, National Center's 2018 First American Entrepreneurship Award, 2018 James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook, 2019 James Beard Leadership Award, and 2021 Esquire Chef of the Year.  Owamni is a finalist for best New Restaurant in America by the James Beard Foundation, along with Chef Sean himself a finalist for Best Chef Midwest category.

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When you think of North American cuisine, do Indigenous foods come to mind? Chef Sean Sherman serves up an essential history lesson that explains the absence of Native American culinary traditions across the continent, highlighting why revitalizing Indigenous education sits at the center of a better diet and healthier relationship with the planet.

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