Windspeaker Radio speaks with Shantel Tallow of Aahksoo’P Indigenous Comfort Food of Calgary. The name means ‘We are going to eat’ in the Blackfoot language.
A hockey tournament fundraiser for her nephew led Shantel Tallow to open her catering business.
“I know how to make frybread and bannock and banana-cream pies,” she told Windspeaker Radio.
She had attended school for Aboriginal tourism, specializing in food and beverage. When the big companies were asking her to deliver 300 fry bread, her company started to grow.
And why not, she said. “There is no other place here I can get frybread or bannock.”
In the beginning, there were challenges. Tallow started with a partner. He was non-Indigenous and was questioned why he was cooking Indigenous food. But Tallow had a vision of collaboration.
“We are in the age of reconciliation. So, why not make it diverse? Why don’t we collaborate (with) our two backgrounds and start something, and it turned into a cookbook?
And she’s loving it, despite never dreaming of becoming a caterer. And, now that she is the sole owner of Aahksoo’P, Tallow is looking to expand to a restaurant or food truck.
Her advice to others who wish to go into business?
“Don’t give up. Patience. Patience pays off. When I first began I thought ‘my first year, I’ll be a millionaire’.”
What she found though was that, with patience, she was growing herself from the inside. “I’m strong. I can do this.
“There’s a lot of learning that comes with this.”
Aahksoo’P Indigenous Comfort Food
1420 40 Ave. NE,