Chef Scott Iserhoff of Pei Pei Chei Ow
Sharing Indigenous culture through the power of food and family
I had no intention of starting a business. I just wanted to cook Indigenous food.
Pei Pei Chei Ow (pronounced “pe-pe-s-chew”) is a food and education company that celebrates Indigenous culture with every dish, aiming to evoke both memories and a sense of comfort.
“Everything that we do has a story,” Iserhoff shares. “We incorporate a lot of smoke into our dishes because that’s the one flavour that really brings me back to sitting out on the land with my family, enjoying tea and bannock and eating a smoked duck stew.
“It was all about family. So, for me, those memories are what really propelled Pei Pei Chei Ow and every dish that we do. We specifically focus on Indigenous food. With each dish, we can attach a story to it, and I think that makes it so much more personal and so much more enjoyable for guests who eat our food.”
It's those memories that Iserhoff strives to share with those he caters for, those memories and his Indigenous culture.
Iserhoff founded Pei Pei Chei Ow with a desire to break barriers, to show up as a proud dark-skinned Indigenous man, and to inspire Indigenous youth. What Iserhoff didn’t expect, though, was the profound healing that he experienced himself and that he witnessed in others through the reconnection to culture and cultural food.
“I’m doing this for my community, for my family, and for myself,” said Iserhoff.
Even the name of the business itself, Pei Pei Chei Ow, is an incredible accomplishment; Iserhoff is extremely proud of having a Cree name for his business. He was warned that a Cree name might be detrimental, that people might struggle to search for it, pronounce it, or find it online, but Iserhoff ignored the warnings. He trusted in himself and went ahead with the name because he knew the power and the beauty of his language.