Air travellers transiting through Vancouver can now visit the first Indigenous-owned and operated restaurant in a Canadian airport — Salmon n’ Bannock On The Fly.
It’s the second location of Salmon n’ Bannock, an Indigenous restaurant on West Broadway in Vancouver, and its menu will feature favourites like the bison pot roast and urban salmon burger, along with new offerings exclusive to Vancouver International Airport (YVR).
At its helm is co-founder and owner Inez Cook, a member of the Nuxalk Nation in northern B.C., and a Sixties Scoop survivor.
“This is the first time in history there’s an Indigenous restaurant at any airport in Canada,” she said.
Cook’s relationship with YVR runs deep, she says. Before co-founding Salmon n’ Bannock in 2010, she was a flight attendant for 33 years; for 25 of those years, she was based out of YVR.
Cook says Salmon n’ Bannock’s second location felt like a fitting extension of two things she loved: travel and food.
“I know what the travelling public wants and craves on flights,” she said.
“And with all the beautiful [Indigenous] art everywhere, it’s such a nice continuation of the story. And our food has a story, all of our people have a story. And we’re sharing that story with our visitors.”
Restaurant ‘a good reminder’ of where travellers are
When she was a year old, Cook was taken from her community in Bella Coola, B.C., and put in foster care.
During the Sixties Scoop, from the 1960s to 1980s, many Indigenous children and babies were taken from their families and placed for adoption in mostly non-Indigenous households.
While Cook has acknowledged that she was lucky to be placed in a loving home, she says she is thankful her restaurant helped reconnect her with the family, community and culture that were missing for much of her life.
Cook hopes their new location at YVR can help travellers end their holiday on a good note, especially for those who haven’t had a chance to experience authentic Indigenous cuisine.
“It’s a good reminder of where they were and where they visited,” she said.
“I’d like guests to learn that we are not a theme, we are living cultures and we are happy to share our culture with them.”
The restaurant is located post-security in the international departures area. Like its first location, it will feature works by Indigenous artists.
“We are proud to have the first Indigenous-owned and operated restaurant at an airport in Canada featuring the best of Indigenous cuisine,” said Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority.
“It’s really important to reflect the best of our province and certainly our commitment to reconciliation and our fantastic Indigenous culinary offerings is a key part of that.”
Salmon n’ Bannock On The Fly will open to the public on Dec. 19.