Meet Chef Steph Baryluk
Chef Steph Baryluk is the recipe creator and cultural educator behind the Rooted program dishes.
Chef Steph Baryluk is Teetl'it Gwich'in from Teetl'it Zheh (Fort McPherson), Treaty 11 Territory located in the Northwest Territories.
"I Grew up hunting, fishing, and traveling the Arctic Tundra. Both my parents are residential school survivors, so today, as I have the freedom to practice my culture and traditions, I will be loud and proud. The Teetl'it Gwich’in people still continue to live off the land respectfully harvesting game meats and plants for medicine. We are one of the most Northernly indigenous people in North America living at the northwestern limits of the boreal forest. Only the Inuit live further north. Hunting, fishing and trapping remain important both culturally and economically, with caribou, moose, whitefish, being staples of our diet.
I grew up watching my Jijuu (grandmother), auntie Betty and mom always cooking, serving anyone who comes into their home. We connect with people when we cook for them. I try hard to keep that alive in my food."
Bella Ross, Grandmother
Rosie Firth, Grandmother
Chef Steph draws inspiration from her grandmothers, "I come from strong Indigenous women. By promoting Indigenous cuisine I hope I can make them proud."
My granny Bella Ross spent 3 years in residential school where she lost her traditional language. Something she had to relearn upon her return. She continued to teach her children the language as they were growing up. She worked hard to encourage the Gwich’in language and culture. She also worked as a translator and reporter for the CBC Gwich’in radio program.
My Jijuu (grandmother) Rosie Firth spent 4 years in residential school. She was always busy with her sewing projects, many of which are still in museums today. She also did translating for the Gwich’in language and always promoted her culture. When I smell fresh buns baking in the oven it brings me right back to my jijuus kitchen, with a table full of food ready to feed any visitors who would stop by.
Chef Steph now lives in Tsawwassen, BC with her husband and two kids. Culinary skills abound in their household, "My husband is a Chef, he’s been in the industry for a long time and is currently an Executive Chef. He is my greatest supporter. Always taking the time to teach me."
A Graduate of Vancouver Community College Culinary Program, Steph has worked across the industry in hotels, oil camps, restaurants, senior homes, and catering. After completing her Red Seal as a Cook she knew she wanted to do more with her Indigenous roots. She has hosted cooking classes and speaking engagements in her hometown and launched her own company, MRS B’S JERKY, which is a play on traditional caribou dried meat ‘Nilii Gaii’ but made with beef. She’s excited to explore more avenues in the promotion of Indigenous cuisine.
My daughter Rosie picking cloud berries with her aunties on the Dempster Highway
Picking cloud berries on the Dempster highway, NT
My mom picking cranberries near my dads cabin on the Peel River
Cranberries picked in the Northwest Territories
Community hunt in Teetl'it Zheh
My nephew Rylan with his vadzaih (caribou) harvested off the Dempster highway
Chef Steph ice fishing on the Peel River in -35
My daughter Rosie and I visiting Alice & Ernest's fish camp
Diane’s Fish Camp on the Peel River, NT
Want to explore more Indigenous culture, beyond food? Here are a few of Chef Steph's favourite Indigenous owned businesses.