Interview: Chef turned to Oregon tribal cuisine for fundraiser

"At the start of 2011, chef Matt Bennett of Albany's Sybaris restaurant knew nearly nothing about Native American cuisine.

But when the city of Albany announced it planned to open a new natural space and tribal interpretation center and was looking for fundraising help, Bennett had an idea.

Why not cook a meal with the ingredients that people ate when the natural area, East Thornton Lake, was last, well, natural?

The dinner, held this spring, was a hit, raising about $5,000. So the chef packed his suitcase full of camas, lamprey and huckleberries and headed to New York, where he cooked a similar meal using native ingredients at the James Beard House on Sept. 30.

Bennett talked by phone from Sybaris about how the dinner came together, the joys of cooking in Albany and why he owns four crockpots. Questions and answers are edited."

Get the Story:
Albany chef gives a modern flavor to native ingredients (The Oregonian 10/4)

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