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Exploring Indigenous food with members of the Mashantucket Pequot, Mohegan and Navajo tribal nations

How much do you know about Native cuisine in Connecticut and New England? This week on Seasoned: an exploration of Indigenous food and cooking. We talk with Nakai Clearwater Northup and Rachel Sayet—educators in the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations—about their culinary traditions. Plus, Navajo chef Freddie Bitsoie talks with us about his new cookbook, New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern Recipes of the American Indian.

This show was produced by Robyn Doyon-Aitken and Catie Talarski. Our interns are Abē Levine and Dylan Reyes.


  • Nakai Clearwater Northup (Mashantucket Pequot and Narragansett) - Lead Educator of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. He is the vice chair of the tribe’s Natural Resources Protection Committee, and he serves as a board member of the Stonington Historical Society. He is a frequent lecturer on food sovereignty.
  • Rachel Sayet (Akitusut - She Who Reads) - Member of the Mohegan nation and an Indigenous educator. She grew up cooking with her grandmother and mother and has a degrees in restaurant management from Cornell and anthropology from Harvard. She’s the author of the paper, “A Celebration of Land and Sea: Modern Indigenous Cuisine in New England”
  • Freddie Bitsoie (Navajo) – Author of New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern Recipes of the American Indian and formerly Executive Chef at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
  • B.J. Lawless – Owner of B.J. Ryan’s and B•AN•C House restaurants in Norwalk and the founder of B.J. Ryan’s Foundation. Visit The Restaurant Hive website for more information on The Hive Food Drive
  • Chris Hickey – Co-owner of The Spread in Norwalk, El Segundo in Norwalk and New Haven, and Magic 5 Pie Company in Norwalk. Chris has joined forces with B.J. Lawless and the B.J. Ryan’s Foundation to meet the goals of The Hive Food Drive

The music of several Indigenous artists is featured in this episode: Instrumental track by Keith Secola and Cody Blackbird, Flying Free by Andrew Vasquez, Tribal Jazz by The Cody Blackbird Band ft. Quiltman, and Like a Phoenix by The Cody Blackbird Band.

Featured Recipes:
Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Juniper Sauce

Three Sisters Bean Stew

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Robyn is the senior producer of Seasoned, a show celebrating food and farms. She’s filled in as a producer for several of our local shows, most notably, Where We Live. In 2021, she was part of the team that received first place in the Interview category from the Public Media Journalists Association for the episode “Who Owns History? Connecticut Woman Sues Harvard For Family Photos.” She produced The Faith Middleton Food Schmooze® from November 2015 until the broadcast ended. Before that, she ate her way through the previous seven years of Fine Cooking magazine while its web producer. Robyn is food-obsessed, loves to bake, and constantly thinks about people in the food world, both nationally and locally, who have compelling stories to tell about food.
Marysol Castro, co-host of Seasoned.
Chef Plum, co-host of Seasoned.