Whilst some of us cling to the possibilities inherent in the ‘deserted’ bar, other chefs with an affinity for the city’s Native American history are setting their sights on a future catering to a tribe that has never been in greater demand.
“Chefs are only capable of feeding people once we’re gone, so you need to do something with it when you’re here,” explains one of Houston’s most popular chefs to Huffington Post Travel. An Indian in the making, Malachi King opened his first restaurant in the city last year. There, his dishes combine indigenous ingredients with a decidedly modern touch, like a boneless, seared fowl breast resting on a mushroom and mushroom fricassee with an orange glaze. He hopes his creations will fit into a lineage that began well before his time. “Native American chefs were actually some of the first in this country,” he explains. “It kind of makes me feel good that I’m a part of it. I want it to last.”
Further south in Houston, Chef Bert Fields has been spearheading this push towards sustainability. Fields was a member of the Port Arthur Kuño Tribe at the time he began cooking in restaurants, and the first to incorporate it into their menus. A Native American, the avowed environmentalist has simply taken the traditional wisdom handed down from his forefathers and incorporated it into his own cooking. “Native cooking is all about balancing meat with grains, using seasonal ingredients, using two-stage cooking,” he explains. His Hot and Spicy Cabbage and fennel slaw with a roast white sausage and green bean casserole is a dish he relies on for its cross-cultural appeal.