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One Native Chef's Journey

Join Chef Joe Rocchi as he discusses how his passion to discover a buried history of native culinary traditions brought him to a life changing journey of learning, understanding, and sharing the immense beauty, contributions, and sometimes dark history of the cuisines native to the Americas. A cuisine whose indigenous ingredients have literally changed the way the entire world sustains itself, has had virtually no culinary representation here on native land in America, nor the world at large, having been intentionally buried. Explore food sovereignty, generational knowledge, colonization, Indian boarding schools, food sources used as a weapon to control the indigenous people of this land, food related illnesses among the indigenous population (diabetes, heart disease, etc.), the journey of rediscovery and the best new restaurant in the country focusing on only precolonial indigenous foods. Learn about native ingredients and where to source them, take away some recipes using those ingredients and join Chef Joe for a demonstration and tasting of fry bread.

Register Member $30

Register Non-Member $35

Sunday, February 26, 2023
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Event Details

Chef Joe Rocchi Native American Cuisine - Native Chef's JourneyAbout the Instructor

Chef Joe Rocchi is a professional Chef and culinary educator, born and raised in Kensington section Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a citizen of the Pamunkey Tribe of Virginia.

Prior to following his passion for the culinary arts and obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree from the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College Chef Rocchi attended North Catholic High School, basic training for the United States Marine Corp, and an apprenticeship as a L.U. 420 Steamfitter.

As he gained exceptional experience in his growth as a Chef in areas such as fine dining, catering, healthcare operations, and designing and opening Philadelphia based casinos as an executive Joe noticed a clear lack of culinary representation of indigenous foods.  At around this time his entire career goals started to shift.

As Chef Rocchi began to ask himself what exactly his tribe’s indigenous cuisine was, he realized most people did not even believe there was a culinary culture in America prior to colonization. Around this time, he also began to see how much he loved learning more about cuisine himself and loved sharing that knowledge with others. Chef Rocchi refocused his career to become a culinary educator, which also gave him the additional time to research indigenous food culture, something hard to do with the immense workload of a Chef, while being a husband and a father. The more he uncovered the more he was intrigued to discover not only of his own Virginia based tribe, but of all North American tribes as each had a very distinct culinary culture.

Once feeling alone in the journey, Chef Rocchi became aware of not only other native Chef’s seeking the same answers but to an entire community of native artisans from seed keepers, farmers, business owners and even tribal officers devoted to similar ideals.

Through his platform as a culinary educator Chef Rocchi strives to spread awareness and understanding of the of the history of indigenous cuisine, the effects it had on the rest of the world, the dark history of how its generational knowledge was almost entirely erased from the surviving indigenous population, and the rising movement of artists and scholars becoming warriors for its protection.

Chef Rocchi currently is the Culinary Director for the Franklin Towne Charter High School Culinary Arts program in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He resides in Pennsauken, New Jersey with his lovely wife Jennifer and their two amazing children Timothy & Alexandra. Chef Rocchi is a Third-Degree Master Mason and a member of the Widows Sons Masonic Riders, Jersey Devils Chapter. He is a Star Wars nerd, dog lover, motorcycle enthusiast, & fried chicken aficionado.