Get to Know Chef Tara Hall of Aboriginal Fusion
Name: Tara Hall
City: Winnipeg, MB
Current Restaurant: Aboriginal Fusion
Previous Restaurants: Joey Polo Park and Prairie 360
Favourite Hobbies: Cooking, beadwork, writing, and building recipes
Favourite Cookbook: The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley
Favourite Food: Bannock tacos and chilli chicken on brown rice with gyoza on the side, from Joey Polo Park
I am First Nations from Pinaymootang First Nation in Manitoba, and am the eldest of eight siblings. I grew up in the Reserve in the care of my grandparents who taught me basic life skills and made sure I went to school every day. After the passing of my grandparents, I lived in the care of my auntie whom I refer to as my mother, Valerie Hall. In her home, she taught me how to help with chores, cooking, cleaning, and helping take care of my other siblings.
I am a Red Seal Chef, and the owner of Aboriginal Fusion food truck, which I started after deciding to work for myself. I graduated from the Red River College Culinary Arts program and completed an apprenticeship and passed my Red Seal exams.
I run my food truck seasonally through April to October.
1. What is your earliest food memory?
I remember watching my granny making fresh saskatoon jam over a wood stove and getting a nice, big spoonful once it cooled down.
2. Did anyone inspire you to become a chef?
I had two big inspirations to get into cooking professionally. One was my late brother, Daniel, who lived with me when I first moved to Winnipeg. He used to always tell me that I could be on a cooking show, or that I should own a restaurant.
Then there was my boyfriend’s late auntie, Arlene Karol. I used to cook barbecue and send her food. On her deathbed, she made me promise to enroll in college for the culinary arts. Shortly after she passed away I received a call saying they had an opening, and I could start in January.
Now my inspiration is my boyfriend and my kids, friends and family, and everyone one of my loyal customers who follow the food truck and support us wherever we go.
3. What are your favourite ingredients to cook with? What are your favourite ingredients to pick up at Wholesale Club?
I love working with chicken and turkey, and anything to do with baking.
Almost everything I purchase comes directly from Wholesale Club except my bison meat, saskatoon berries, and pickerel. All my packaging, cleaning products, kitchen wares, and day-to-day items I get from Wholesale Club. I love shopping there for their prices and the great deals they have.
4. What is the food like at your restaurant? What are some of your signature dishes?
The best description for my food is traditional Indigenous eats with a homestyle feel, served from a food truck. My signature dishes are the fried bison burger with fries, and the Guinness beer-battered pickerel with seasoned fries, lime slaw, and tartar sauce.