Enthusiastic Chef John revels in Wampanoag cooking

by James Kinsella

For example, he said "quahog" is the Wampanoag word for "large clam." A Wampanoag meal prepared by Chef John would include stuffed quahogs, whose texture he takes care to ensure is a bit grainy, like the sand of Mashpee beaches, rather than mushy; tenderloin of venison, traditionally cooked somewhat rare, which Chef John said reflects the interest of hungry tribal members to get on with the eating; steamed whole fish; and popcorn sweetened with honey.

Conscious of his tribal heritage, Chef John said he does a lot of meals for the elders of the tribe, seeing it as a way to contribute the way a carpenter or a plumber might help.

Further, should the tribe, which last year received federal recognition, succeed in opening a casino, Chef John would want to open a restaurant there to be known as Johnny Wampanoag's. Its goal, aside from serving delicious food, would be expose a wider audience to Wampanoag cooking.

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