STANFORD, Calif. — Getting the word out about a product can be tricky at times. This is particularly true when a product is an ingredient used within food recipes. So, when an indigenous chef incorporated an ingredient owned by a company belonging to the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians into her recipes, the tribe’s presence extended from all the way from Michigan to California.
Regardless of how it works is fine by the tribe, based in Manistee, Michigan. The tribe owns and operates Advanced Protein Solutions (APS), which owns intellectual property formulations that add to the nutritious value of ground meat because they are packed with vitamins and antioxidants.
To help move the intellectual property formulation, APS representatives solicited the help of indigenous chef, Crystal Wahpepah (Kickapoo), who was willing to test the meat with the APS formulation in it. After her initial tests working with her recipes, Wahpepah integrated the formulated ground bison meat into her proprietary Kickapoo buffalo chili and blue corn tacos, which are made with ground beef.
Wahpepah owns Wahpepah’s Kitchen and is a highly respected indigenous chef, who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a former contestant on the Food Network’s “Chopped” series, Wahpepah has been building a name for herself as she promotes indigenous foods. She is featured in the 2016 edition of “Native American Almanac: More than 50,000 Years of the Cultures and Histories of Indigenous Peoples.”
Chefs, especially those working with indigenous foods, are particular with the what raw foods and ingredients go into their recipes. Wahpepah liked the results of her tests with the APS’ all-natural formulations in ground meat.
“Using the meat formulations made a huge difference in my recipes. The taste was unbelievably awesome. The texture was far better than my other ground bison. The meat tastes very clean and natural the way ground meat should taste,” says Wahpepah.
The Kickapoo buffalo chili was a featured menu item at the Wahpepah’s Kitchen booth at the 47th Annual Stanford Powwow, which attracted some 25,000 people over Mother’s Day weekend.
Wahpepah was more than satisfied with the sales results and comments coming from her customers over the powwow weekend where her blue corn tacos and Kickapoo buffalo chili sold out. She is excited about using meat with APS’ all-natural formulation.
“My customers noticed a huge difference in my chili, blue corn tacos with the all-natural formulation. I always have people coming back for seconds and even third helpings. This time I had a huge response on my Kickapoo buffalo chili,” reports Wahpepah. “So many made their way back to our food tent to tell me how awesome my food was and liked that I use healthy ingredients.”
After the success at the Stanford Powwow, Wahpepah and APS representatives discussed ways to work together in a mutually beneficial capacity to increase awareness about the health benefits of using APS formulations.
“Our relationship with Crystal Wahpepah, a highly respected indigenous chef, is very important to us as we continue to gain strategic alliances in Indian Country and the rest of the nation to provide healthier beef, bison, and other all natural protein formulations to the mass market” says Garrick Opie, Managing Director of Advanced Protein Solutions, based in Traverse City, Michigan.
As an indigenous chef, the holistic approach to cooking healthy foods is essential to Wahpepah and she looks forward to working more closely with the Little River Band’s tribal business enterprise.
“I am honored and humbled to be working with the Little River Band of Ottawa’s tribal business. As Indigenous chef and business owner, this something vital ground breaking important to our Native communities. And the most important thing is we are creating indigenous menu items to eat healthy and be healthy. It starts by us coming together as indigenous people working together so excited to see the outcome of this amazing formulation.”
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is a federally recognzed tribe that owns and operates the Little River Casino Resort, located in Manistee, Michigan. APS is a wholly-owned business of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians’ Economic Development Corporation (EDC). In a addition, the EDC owns a sister company of APS, InTerra Nutraceuticals.