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Meet Christa Bruneau-Guenther, Owner of Feast Cafe Bistro, Winnipeg

Food is a way of life, a path to truth, a medicine that connects us with nature

Meet Christa Bruneau-Guenther, Owner of Feast Cafe Bistro, Winnipeg

Food is a way of life, a path to truth, a medicine that connects us with nature

The Feast Café Bistro in Winnipeg’s West End is the brainchild of Christa Bruneau-Guenther, a proud member of the Peguis First Nation who was born and raised in Winnipeg.

After she became involved with community gardens and learning to cook with locally sourced ingredients, friends and colleagues encouraged Christa to open her own restaurant.

She wasn’t confident at first, and was concerned her “tough upbringing” – she started working at just ten years old – and “education” would not be valued, but working with her community and helping to care for its plants, herbs and vegetables changed her mind.

Since opening Feast Café she has been in demand for television, radio and print interviews and many now travel big distances to dine at her restaurant.

She says she has come to see food as a “way of life, a path to truth, a medicine that sustains us and connects us with nature.”

interview food
Travel Manitoba

When I asked about her favourite seasonal autumn ingredients served at the restaurant she didn’t hesitate. “Autumn is definitely our squash season, and squash is one of that we call the three sisters – beans, corn, and squashes – which feature regularly in Indigenous dishes.

“People often assume Indigenous Canada’s First Nation people consumed mostly meat. They did in certain terroirs, but a large part of their diet would have been beans, corn and squash as these have a ton of Vitamin C, complex carbohydrates for energy, magnesium, minerals, and are high in protein,” she says.

The Feast Café has a range of dishes with heritage squashes, which are sourced from local gardens and Indigenous communities. They feature in the restaurant’s soups, stews and pasta dishes. Wild rice pasta is another staple on the autumn menu as well as braised bison with squash.

I tried her Coconut Squash Curry, which was loaded with fresh taste and was delicious. Bison is also a favourite at the restaurant and available year round.

“It pairs really well with autumn vegetables,” says Crista. Another regular is Bannock Pizza with Bison sausage – the meat is tender and delicious!

“Pickerel and Walleye fish from the Great Lakes is more in-season in September, October and November and something we serve, she adds. We are surrounded by freshwater lakes and access to Pickerel is plentiful; it is a staple for many communities, for both their livelihood and for culturally significant reasons.

“Water is the blood of mother earth, and we honour and respect everything from these waters”.
Christa says that Covid ”altered everything”, with many forced to go back to the land and back to gardening. Canning and preserving practices were resurrected as well. “I now spend a lot of time in my traditional Indigenous garden. It is therapeutic to garden barefoot and to forage. “We always remember to give thanks for what has been provided for us,” she says. feastcafebistro.com

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