Season three of documentary cooking show Moosemeat & Marmalade will feature two episodes filmed in Yellowknife.

Art Napoleon shows off some dry fish in Ndilo. photo by Mike Wavrecan

The show brings together co-stars Dan Hayes, a classically trained French chef from the United Kingdom, and Art Napoleon, an experienced hunter and outdoor cook of Cree and Dane Zaa descent to explore and share their different culinary traditions.

Napoleon said he was really impressed with the culinary scene Yellowknife had to offer.

“You get the best of both worlds in Yellowknife,” Napoleon told Yellowknifer. “It has a mixture of old and new. They have that ancient Dene culture that’s always been there, and it’s got the funky, urban vibe in the downtown. You can have it all there.”

One of the Yellowknife episodes will feature the city’s quintessential seafood restaurant, Bullock’s Bistro.

“I’ve always admired that place, I’d call that a character place,” Napoleon said. “I think it’s a landmark with amazing comfort soul food.”

Napoleon said another thing he likes about Yellowknife is the sense of adventure the city evokes with its proximity to the lake. He said they also had the chance to go out on the water and film while fishing.

“It was quite the experience. I had never been caught in a storm out on open water. Even with mild waves, my legs turn to rubber and I feel like puking,” Napoleon said. “It lasted almost an hour!”

The crew made it off the boat safely, which Napoleon credited to their expert fishing guide, Shawn Buckley.

“The fish is good quality because the lake in Yellowknife is deep and cold,” Napoleon said.

Napoleon got his start with traditional cooking methods when he was a kid and living with his grandparents, who spoke no English.

“Cree was the language of the house. We still followed the cycles of the land,” Napoleon said. “Because we were so remote, we shopped in town for the basics, but largely, we ate food from the garden and from the land.”

Napoleon said he grew up learning how to live off the land from his grandparents and his community – when the best time to snare rabbits is, how to hunt moose, how to make dry meat in the smokehouse, and so much more.

“As kids, we all had to pitch in. Everyone in the family had a role,” Napoleon said. “We learned by doing.”

Which is why when Napoleon was four or five, and he first moved into a house with electricity with his grandparents, he took an interest in learning how to make the foods he saw on commercials – on the television they had with only one black-and-white channel.

“I actually didn’t know what a lot of the food was, but I was trying to imitate the food I saw. I tried to make a pizza with bannock dough spread out nice and thin, and then half-cooked ichiban noodles – because the TV was black-and-white, the shredded mozzarella looked like noodles,” Napoleon said.

He said he’s been experimenting with food ever since.

“I like eating, and therefore I had to learn to cook,” Napoleon said.

The Moosemeat & Marmalade episodes featuring Yellowknife will air on APTN Feb. 1 and Feb. 15 at 9 p.m.

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