Hello, I’m Laura Lenson and I have lived in the Niagara region for my entire life. I am very proud of my indigenous heritage, my paternal grandmother, Helen Dockstader Baird, was Cayuga, Wolf Clan, from Six Nations.
In our cooking class this afternoon we will be exploring some aspects of foods that are traditional with the Indigenous people of Turtle Island. We will be making a maple glazed fish, a wild rice succotash and delicious sunflower cookies.
I graduated from Brock University in 1987 with a BA, Music Major. I taught piano privately for more than 25 years. As much as I loved music and my students, my passion was always cooking.
I made the decision to follow that passion and in 2006 I enrolled in a personal chef course through United States/Canadian Personal Chef Association at the Culinary Business Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When my training was completed, I opened my personal chef service, Laura’s Custom Cuisine
After working with private clients, I was fortunate to become the in-house chef at the Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle (formerly SOADI). I have been cooking diabetic friendly meals for meetings and training sessions and providing lunches with budget friendly recipes for IDHC’s Heathy Lifestyle Fridays and Wellness Wednesdays. I have recently compiled my recipes into a cookbook to help everyone make healthy, tasty, easy to prepare meals.
The best part of my job, however, is teaching cooking classes the second Thursday of each month at IDHC. The “Let’s Cook with Laura” series is open to anyone who wants to learn how to make the most of their food dollar and gain confidence in the kitchen.
I have catered for the Niagara Regional Native Centre Three Fires Justice volunteer appreciation dinner, provided a daily lunch program for the Niagara Peninsula Area Aboriginal Management Board (NPAAMB) programming at Niagara College, catered the VIP Reception at the 2018 and 2019 Celebration of Nations and the opening night reception for “Opening the Doors to Dialogue” exhibit at the Niagara Falls Museum. I was privileged to lead a lunch and cooking skills program at Bethlehem Housing in Niagara Falls and I continue to do a cooking skills program at Soaring Eagles Secondary School in Thorold.
I also volunteer my time as a board member at the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre.