Indigenous-owned bistro combines cultures in their dishes

Shelly’s Indigenous Bistro may only be a month old, but they’re turning heads with their unique take on pizza… combining different cultural staples to create brand new dishes. Mike Albanese has more.

Inspired by his mother, a Winnipeg chef has created a cultural collision of flavours at Shelly’s Indigenous Bistro — the Bannock Taco Dorito Pizza.

“Taco beef, green peppers, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, and then we also add some cheddar cheese for a little bit of visual,” said Tyler Nielson.

Bannock Taco Dorito Pizza. (Photo Credit: Mike Albanese, CityNews)

All of that – on a bannock dough. It’s a different take on pizza that was necessary for owner Vincent Bignell to make, after his mother became sensitive to yeast following an aneurysm. It’s become a staple in his restaurant and he’s hoping Winnipegger’s break pizza tradition and try it.

“Open their palette, feed them, make them hungry – food is the way to the soul,” explained Bignell.

Vincent Bignell. (Photo Credit: Mike Albanese, CityNews)

“Honestly I just completely love this dish, like I never thought it would work but, the first time I ever actually ate this pizza I was completely blown away.”

Bignell’s restaurant isn’t even four-weeks-old, but he’s proud of what his indigenous-owned business has accomplished so far. The majority of his staff are indigenous as well.

“I didn’t grow up in my culture and identity, and I found my healing through the kitchen, this path was hard work – lots of hard work.”

“It almost feels like I’m working with. I know it’s cheesy but, like family. It’s very nice to be working with a lot of Indigenous people,” explained Nielson.

Bannock Taco Dorito Pizza. (Photo Credit: Mike Albanese, CityNews)

Although he’s proud of his restaurant’s roots, it’s actually named after a Jewish Winnipegger who becomes his honourary grandmother.

“Her partner passed away, we didn’t want her to live alone so we brought her into our house, and everything is based off of her dishes that she enjoys.”

Bignell says there are no boundaries for his cooking, and says everything can be infused, even cultures. He’s hoping to continue mixing dishes, and creating something new for Winnipeggers to dig into. In Winnipeg, Mike Albanese, CityNews.

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