It’s a remarkably beautiful day at Luck Ranch, owned by Willie Nelson, about 30 miles northwest of Austin. Chef Crystal Wahpepah splits her attention between two large pots of Kickapoo Chili – a family dish of her tribe – one above a gas burner and the other an open fire. There is a breeze blowing and around her meat is smoking, jicama grilling and chili peppers roasting.
Chef Wahpepah, along with Chef Brit Reed and Chef Sewa Yuli, are preparing food for a four-course dinner event honoring the The Three Sisters of Indigenous American Agriculture: corn, squash and climbing beans. These crops are planted close to each other because as they grow they make one another stronger, mutualistically. Each course of the meal the chefs planned together incorporates at least one of the foods, while the fourth Wahpepah says has all three.