Photography Ian McCausland
Christa Bruneau-Guenther, owner of Feast Café Bistro, shares her top things to do in Winnipeg that celebrate Manitoba's multiculturalism.
Christa Bruneau-Guenther has always had a passion for food, but she never imagined she'd one day open a restaurant of her own. Her first foray into food happened by chance when she opened a day care at age 22 and began working with inner-city kids.
"They couldn't focus and were upset all the time," says Christa. " I looked at what they were eating, and some of them weren't having breakfast or had sugar-based diets." She launched a food program and educated the kids and their parents about making healthy budget-friendly meals. "Within two to three weeks, the kids were able to learn and be happy."
Christa realized that native peoples, her family members included, had lost the connection to Indigenous ingredients, so she sold her business and developed hundreds of recipes using such local finds as squash, corn and pine nuts. After a few years, word spread and some investors, including First Nations actor Adam Beach, offered Christa the opportunity to purchase a portion of a building in Winnipeg's West End.
That's when Feast Café Bistro—a restaurant that keeps prices low to give the community access to delicious healthy food—began to take shape. Christa largely hires Indigenous peoples and uses traditional ingredients in modern ways, such as the butternut squash pizza on bannock. "Cooking with seasonal Manitoban ingredients challenges me to get creative," she says. She can't imagine running her restaurant anywhere else.
Feast Café Bistro | Photography by Ian McCausland
"Manitoba is all about multiculturalism. Like the Manito Ahbee Festival, which celebrates Indigenous culture. You feel the drums deep in your body for weeks. Then there's the West End Cultural Centre across the street from Feast, which is booming with live music events. And Festival du Voyageur, the winter festival in Saint-Boniface, Winnipeg's French quarter, is perfect for families."
For more great stories from Manitobans like Christa, visit our special guide: Our Manitoba.