‘The Sioux Chef’ Sean Sherman Named To Top Influential List

Time magazine named the Indigenous Food Lab and Owamni co-founder to the 100 Most Influential People of 2023
Sean Sherman


We’ve known the impact Sean Sherman has made on the local food scene for some time, but now he’s getting well-deserved national attention. Time magazine named Sherman to its “100 Most Influential People of 2023” list today.

TV host and author Padma Lakshmi wrote the entry on Sherman: “Sean has had a major impact on revitalizing and revolutionizing Native cuisine in the U.S.,” she wrote, adding, “He has galvanized a new generation of Indigenous chefs to honor their culinary heritage and to decolonize their diets.”

The print magazine has four covers: actor Jennifer Coolidge, recording artist Doja Cat, Disney CEO Bob Iger, and actor Michael B. Jordan. The full TIME100 list, unveiled Thursday, includes Colin Farrell, Angela Bassett, Brittney Griner, Mikaela Shiffrin, and author Judy Blume. That’s some pretty great company.

In a statement, Sherman wrote: “I am thrilled to accept this honor on behalf of my ancestors, who lived in balance with the natural world. For generations, they nourished themselves with the bounty of the land where we lived, and we thrived. The foodways that sustained our Indigenous ancestors have the potential to rebalance and heal our bodies, weave connections within our communities, and bring harmony to our relationship with the planet.”

That’s the point. Sherman’s restaurant that he co-started, Owamni, is amazing, in my view, because of the conversation it provokes. Food is the vehicle, but the food is the start of the conversation. What is colonized food? What is the history? Where did things change? Why? Who’s involved in being invited to our tables—and who is not? He is also recognized as a  founder of the non-profit NĀTIFS—North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems.

Lakshmi wrote: “Sean has inspired many people, myself included, to become more curious about Native communities, the beauty of their dishes, and the importance of eating harmoniously with Mother Nature. He’s a powerful force of good in the culinary world and beyond.”

Sherman is a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe and has also gone by the moniker The Sioux Chef. Congratulations to Sherman. We know we’re only seeing the start of his impact.

Chef Sean Sherman holds the stuffed green chile entree
Chef Sean Sherman holds the stuffed green chile entree, as seen on our Nov/Dec cover

Photo by Kevin Kramer