For Chef Sheila Flaherty, cooking is about more than just sharing a meal – it’s about sharing culture. Shelia lives in Iqaluit, Nunavut and is the founder of sijjakkut which prides itself in the preservation and promotion of Inuit culture by relying on hunted and harvested foods for its menus. Business planning is currently underway to realize sijjakkut’s full vision - an Inuit culinary tourism venture complete with a bed and breakfast and a commercial kitchen. She has shared menus in Iqaluit, Ottawa, Toronto, Nuuk, New York and most recently, Vancouver.
Shelia has been featured in the Globe and Mail as a top emerging chef in Canada, has been interviewed for Chatelaine, Montecristo Magazine, enRoute Magazine, Serviette Magazine, Nunatsiaq News, CBC, Ottawa Citizen, and the National Post and has provided recipes to Chatelaine, The Kit and The Cookbook for the United Nations: For People and Planet to be released November 2022. She is also proud to have written the foreword to Nirjutit Imaani cookbook, a 2022 Gourmand Award winner in the Arctic category.
Beyond food, Shelia is an alumnus of entrepreNorth, serves as the Nunavut Director for Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada as well as a Director of the Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nations, and is becoming a National Technical Committee Rep for Cooking, for Skills Canada Nunavut.
Shelia is so humbled to have the opportunity to have people experience Inuit culture through her food. She hopes that as people enjoy the meals she makes, they learn a bit about where the food comes from and the history behind it.
Photo Credit: Unposed Photography
Photo Description: Sheila is wearing an atikluk, a pullover garment worn by Inuit women. All the materials, the flowered cotton fabric and the trims were bought during a summer of 2018 trip to Utqiagvik, Alaska. She came home to Iqaluit and sewed it together including making the qupak - known as a Delta Braid.