Dolly Watts

There will never be a market for Indigenous food in a restaurant setting in Canada. If you want to know just how wrong this statement is, talk to Dolly Watts. As the owner-operator of Liliget Feast House and Catering, Watts – a member of the Gitksan First Nation – has taken Vancouver by storm. Customers entering Liliget arrive in what has been turned into a culinary long house and experienced traditional wild game and seafood as only Watts can prepare it. Entrees served in traditional long wooden bowls, made from carved cedar and alder, complete the scene. “We grill most everything over fire,” Watts says proudly. “We use alder wood so that everything we cook tastes so much like the food we used to eat in our villages.” With revenues increasing each year, Watts is the author of her own business success story. While in university, she established a small bannock stand called Grandma’s Bannock. Demand was incredible and a catering business – Just Like Grandma’s Bannock – followed. After that, Liliget Feast House and Catering was born in 1995. She’s developed a national and international reputation, serving as a program consultant to prestigious conferences on Canadian cuisine, and speaking overseas on Aboriginal cuisine. Watts also co-founded the Aboriginal Business Club, which provides a forum for sharing successful business strategies and ideas with others in the Aboriginal community. The recipient of numerous culinary and business honours, Watts has developed a solid clientele nationwide.