Canadian Indigenous born Billy Alexander is the Executive Chef and Culinary Advisor for Caldwell First Nation located in Leamington southern Ontario. As a world-renowned and globally trained chef, cultural pundit, and social advocate, his illustrious accomplishments and positions include: Founding Chair of Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nations; Culinary Development for WestJet; recipient of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40; Executive Chef at Calgary’s Grey Eagle Resort and Casino; National Culinary Strategist for Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada; and mentor to countless youth.
Raised by his Mohawk mother and Indigenous communities, he grew up with food being synonymous with community and he learned to cook with ingredients he foraged and hunted. He views the land as the “original grocery store” and created daily menus cooking for his family based on whatever edible treasures the land provided seasonally. He formed some of his fondest memories, gathered around food with family and community.
As an adolescent, he set out to travel the world for years, which included time throughout Europe, Asia and New Zealand. He learned about diverse foods, cultures, histories and social dynamics. In New Zealand, he was inspired by how integral their Indigenous culture was woven into the broader culture and community. When he returned to Canada, armed with finely honed culinary skills and an enlightened outlook, he had an epiphany to draw upon his roots. This evolved into his mature culinary repertoire where he masterfully combines his formal culinary training with a heartfelt homage to the recipes and techniques of his mother, grandmother and childhood community matriarchs.
Through food, social advocacy and lived example, Billy practices a look-forward philosophy. “History is already done and can’t be reversed – but we do have the power and responsibility to carve out a new history.” He encourages everyone to have difficult conversations, broaden one’s inner circles to include those who don’t mirror themselves, and above all, to eat well and together.
Canadian Culinary Excellence Award | Jan 2020
Avenue Calgary Magazine
Top 40 Under 40 Award | Oct 2019
Canmore Uncorked Food Festival
Top Chef Award | May 2017