DENVER, CO. — Navajo Technical University (NTU) Culinary Arts students Jucinda Begay and Angelena Sheppard recently attended an annual fundraiser at the Mile High Station in Denver, preparing some of their most delicious delicacies Sept. 17.
Begay prepared blue corn tamales with rabbit while Shepard made a traditional Navajo cake for the event. NTU is the only tribal college or university with a culinary arts program that is accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
The fundraiser is sponsored by the American Indian College Fun and is known as the Denver Epicurean Award to Support Students (E.A.T.S.S.).
“Events like these help expose our students to the bigger picture of our industry that includes interacting with guests so they may share the stories behind their dishes,” said NTU Culinary Arts instructor Brian Tatsukawa. “Another perk is that our students often receive job offers from other chefs during these events.”
Denver E.A.T.S.S. assembled some of the more renowned chefs in the region and invited culinary arts students from NTU and Lac Courte Ojibwe Community College from Hayward, Wisconsin. Overall the fundraiser introduced everyone who attended the event to learn about the variety of Indigenous cultures and the foods from each tribal nation.
Each year the American Indian College Fund (AICF) schedules events to raise money toward scholarships for American Indian students attending a tribal college or university. Denver E.A.T.S.S. was a promotion to share food and culture through the revitalization of Native American food.
NTU’s Culinary Arts students will participate in three more fundraising events this semester, according to Tatsukawa. The next event for the students will take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota and will feature Chef Sean Sherman.
The other two events will take place in Seattle, Washington and New York City, New York. More information about NTU’s ACF accredited Culinary Arts program is available by contacting Tatsukawa at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (505) 786-4100.