For chef Keenawaii (Roberta Olson), food is much more than sustenance. It is a cultural experience filled with symbolism and important nuggets of wisdom that can only be transferred through the sharing of an authentic Haida meal. Guests in Keenawaii’s Kitchen will experience a small taste of Haida culture and lifestyle through their meal in a truly unforgettable way. Each meal features multiple courses and traditional Haida foods. Every dish is cooked fresh, from scratch, with ingredients that have been grown or caught on Haida Gwaii, including many wild-harvested foods. A typical meal may include sguu (dried seaweed), dried K’aaw (herring eggs on kelp), and gilgii (dried salmon), locally-grown vegetables, wild berries and other in-season foods. Meals are served at Keenawaii’s Kitchen in Skidegate for two to twenty-five guests at each sitting. Advance reservations required. Keenawaii’s Kitchen operates year round and has been featured in numerous publications, including Good Housekeeping and AirCanada Magazine and online.
Meet Roberta Olson
Meet Roberta Olson
Haida chef Roberta Olson has served traditional Haida meals to dignitaries, government officials and travel writers. She even once entertained famous academic and environmental activist David Suzuki. However, some of her most memorable meals have been served to young people. Roberta, whose Haida name is Keenawaii, loves to share her passion for Haida culture with young people, and she uses food as her teaching medium. Everything is prepared fresh, from scratch. The seafood and venison are locally harvested as are the berries, mushrooms and other wild edibles.
Roberta's cooking skills were well known throughout the community. One day Roberta was asked to cook a meal for a tour group and thus Keenawaii's Kitchen was born. Roberta entertains and cooks from her Skidegate home and sometimes serves as many as thirty guests in a single meal. Guests come from places all over the world to sample her authentic Haida cuisine, which generally features several courses.
Roberta feels deeply connected to the people and the land of Haida Gwaii. From her Skidegate home, she has a pristine ocean view of Skidegate Inlet where eagles, ravens and whales can sometimes be seen.