Chef Crystal Wahpepah

As the​ ​first​ ​Native​ ​American​ ​Indigenous​ ​Chef​ ​to​ ​be​ ​featured​ ​on​ ​Food​ ​Network's​ ​Chopped tv​ ​show​, I proudly serve​ ​authentic​ ​Native​ ​cuisine​ ​based​ ​on​ ​the​ ​​Kickapoo​​ ​heritage, cooking​ ​Native​ ​food​ ​such​ ​as​ ​bison,​ ​vinson​ ​squash,​ ​and​ ​corn​ ​with​ ​recipes​ ​passed​ ​on​ through the generations.


I​ ​grew​ ​up​ ​in​ ​Oakland,​ ​in​ ​the​ ​urban​ ​Native American​ ​community and was​ ​raised​ ​with​ ​fellow​ ​Native​ ​American​ ​people​ ​from​ ​many​ ​different​ ​Tribes​​.​ While I am a member​ ​of​ ​the​ ​​Kickapoo​​ ​tribe​ ​from Oklahoma, ​I​ ​learned how​ ​to​ ​cook​ ​many​ ​styles​ ​of​ ​Native​ ​food​ ​and​ ​know​ ​how​ ​our foods bring​ ​us​ ​together​ ​as​ ​people. I​ ​enjoyed​ ​working​ ​with​ ​my​ ​grandmother​ ​in​ ​her ​kitchen​​​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​our​ ​traditional​ ​food​ ​and to​ ​pass​ ​on​ ​the​ ​knowledge​ ​to​ ​my​ ​children​ ​and​ ​community.​ My​ ​love​ ​for​ ​Native​ ​food began​ ​as​ ​a​ ​young​ ​child.

​I ​successfully​ ​completed​ ​the​ ​Bread​ ​Project​ ​program​ ​in​ ​Oakland​ ​and​ ​went​ to ​La​ ​Cocina​ ​in San​ ​Francisco. My​ ​dream​ ​is​ ​to​ ​make​ ​my​ ​Native​ ​community​ ​and​ ​my​ ​family​ ​and children​ ​proud.​ ​I​ ​received​ ​the​ ​Indigenous​ ​Artist​ ​and​ ​Activist​ ​Award​​,​ ​and​ ​was inducted​ ​into​ ​the​ ​Native​ ​American​ ​Almanac​ ​as​ ​the​ ​first​ ​Native​ ​American​ ​Woman Entrepreneur​ ​Catering​ ​Business​. I hope one​ ​day,​ ​soon, to​ ​open​ ​a​ ​restaurant​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Bay​ ​Area​.


It is an honor to serve Native cuisine to you. 

~​ ​​Chef​ ​Crystal​ ​Wahpepah



Kickapoo People

The Kickapoo (Kickapoo: Kiikaapoa or Kiikaapoi) are an Algonquian-speaking Native American tribe.  According to the Anishinaabeg, the name "Kickapoo" (Giiwigaabaw in the Anishinaabe language and its Kickapoo cognate Kiwikapawa) means "Stands here and there".


It may have referred to the tribe's migratory patterns.  The name can also mean "wanderer".  This interpretation is contested and generally believed to be a folk etymology.


Today there are three federally recognized Kickapoo tribes in the United States: Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas, the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, and the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas.


The former two groups are politically associated with the Texas band.  Others live in small groups throughout the western United States.  Around 3,000 people claim to be tribal members.  There is also a small community in Douglas, Arizona.  Another band resides in area of Múzquiz, in the Mexican state of Coahuila.