Rich Francis, Tetlit Gwich’in and Tuscarora Nations, has made the final of Top Chef Canada. Francis is the owner of Aboriginal Culinary Concepts, a business he describes on his Facebook page as "a platform from Modern Aboriginal Cuisine."
Francis is an experienced chef who graduated from the Stratford (Ontario) Chef's School and has worked at Splendido in Toronto and Tabla in New York City. He is currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
His focus is clearly on creating dishes that will stay true to his Aboriginal heritage while pleasing the modern palate. It's a challenge, but one he relishes. "I try to keep things simple, which can often be the hardest thing to do," he told Native Men's Magazine. "And above all I try to keep things as pre-contact as possible, using mainly produce indigenous to Turtle Island. It can be tough though, especially with all the stuff that’s out there but that’s where fearless creativity comes in and exhausting all your possibilities for a certain dish. An on-going process of trial and error."
In the Top Chef Canada finale, which will air May 12, Francis will face off against the two other finalists for the coveted title of Top Chef. To chart Rich's journey through the season, visit foodnetwork.ca to watch full episodes online.