Canadian indigenous born Chef Bill Alexander is the Executive Chef at the Grey eagle Resort & Casino located on the beautiful TSUUT’INA Nation in Calgary Alberta. Though Bill finds himself flattered to be known for his passion and excitement when talking about food and people, his journey to Grey Eagle began many years before.
His early years were spent growing up in Ontario & Western Quebec with heavy influence from his mother & Mohawk community. The widened approach of a community acting as one large family, coming together over food, formed some of his fondest memories as a child and his strongest foundations as an adult. A childhood spent farming, hunting, gardening and trading with neighbors laid the foundation of locally sourced ingredients and the importance of knowing where your food comes from. By the age of 14, Bill was cooking full meals for his mother and 3 brothers creating and thriving off an ignited passion for food and the smiles that great tasting food inspired.
The idea that food made people happy, left Bill wanting to feed more people. It was a simple thought that led to Bill beginning his first his first formal training in restaurants by the age of 15. “I wanted to learn everything possible and started my career as a dishwasher putting my head down, working hard, and asking questions.” The drive to learn kept Chef Bill hungry and he was promoted to line cook progressing his way through every station, always learning and looking for ways to improve standards. By the age of 17, Chef Bill had accepted his first role as Sous Chef, and first Head Chef Role by 18 as well as began my apprenticeship for my red seal at Le Cordon Bleu.
Knowing that food brought people together, Chef Bill needed to see if this applied in other parts of the world so he continued his apprenticeship honing new skills in various places such as Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Prague, as well as North Carolina. After 7 years working around the world he returned back to Canada with the knowledge that “food is a magical ingredient needed to create happy memories”. He believes this sentiment shared and echoed in every corner of the world and is a universal language in itself.
Over the last 18 years, Bill has been the Executive Chef for various places such as Marriott Hotels, Military & Defense Head Quarters, Various Conference Centers & hotels, several restaurants as well as consulted on 15+ menu concepts for 3rd party business owners. Bill is a decorated chef winning various culinary competitions and awards over the years as well as an accomplished motivational speaker and leader.
Moving to Calgary and taking on the role of Executive Chef for Grey Eagle Resort & Casino brought his life and career full circle. After so many years of travelling and seeing the world, he came out west to make a new home and continue his career on beautiful Nation land so similar to where it all began for him over 20 years ago. Chef Bill stated “I could not be happier to be in a position to help shape our indigenous culinary vision of the future, by creating jobs and training our future leaders to be successful in them. We are in the business of turning moments into memories and it takes our great people to do this.”
When the apron comes off, Chef Bill spends his time being a highly accomplished martial artist and personal trainer, doing anything and everything of the sportive nature; but most of all he can be seen spending quality time with his wife and beautiful daughter. Chef Bill is an extremely passionate indigenous chef who believes in making a difference. He believes that “food brings people to the table where we get to talk about the necessary change”.
Indigenous cuisine is a part of a travel experience - tasting the flavours of the local place and connecting with the people who prepare it. ITAC is leading a project to develop a National Indigenous Culinary Tourism strategy. This session will highlight project milestones so far, and share food stories from chefs across the country.