The Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman, is a 2019 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award honoree

Nancy Bundt

Nancy Bundt

The James Beard Foundation folks are big fans of Minnesota's own Sean Sherman.

In 2018, they named the Sioux Chef founder and CEO's cookbook—The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen—the best American cookbook of the year. This morning, they added another honor: The indigenous foods activist is one of five 2019 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award winners. These awards are meant to honor folks doing good work in the “important and complex realms of sustainability, food justice, and public health."

Here's what the foundation had to say about him:

"Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, focuses on the revitalization and awareness of indigenous foods systems in a modern culinary context, a mission which led him to create the company the Sioux Chef in 2014. Sherman has studied extensively to determine the foundations of these food systems which include the knowledge of Native American farming techniques, wild food usage and harvesting, land stewardship, food preservation, regional diversity, Native American migrational histories, along with indigenous culture and history in general to gain a full understanding of bringing back a sense of Native American cuisine to today’s world."

This year's other JB Foundation leaders in food-focused activism include the Pioneer Valley Workers Center Women’s Collective; Leah Penniman, co-executive director and program manager of Soul Fire Farm; Cornelius Blanding, executive director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives; and Anim Steel, co-founder/executive director of Real Food Generation.

For more on Sherman's ethos and activism, check out our 2017 cover story—Meet the Sioux Chef—or our review of The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen. (He was also CP's 2017 Best Kickstarter winner.)

Expect to hear a lot from the Sioux Chef over the coming weeks/months/years: He has a restaurant coming to the Water Works park in downtown Minneapolis (likely in 2020), and his nonprofit, NATIFS (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems), is working to open a restaurant-slash-training center sometime this year.