Crystal Wahpepah

Wahpepah's Kitchen - Oakland, CA

Crystal Wahpepah, a true Indigenous food warrior and the first Native woman to own a restaurant in Northern California, is a member of the Kickapoo Nation of Oklahoma. Growing up in and around the urban Indigenous communities of Oakland, she established Wahpepah’s Kitchen in Fruitvale Village. Here, she reclaims Native foodways and fosters connections to the vibrant, nourishing bounty of Native foods and intertribal cultures.

Crystal’s menu features dishes such as Kickapoo chili, Deer sticks, and Three Sisters Salad, among others, all of which honor the land, waters, and the sustenance they provide. Through her culinary creations, she not only creates community but also aids in the healing process of her community.
Recognized as an inductee into the Native American Almanac and a finalist for the James Beard Emerging Chef Award, Crystal has showcased her talents on Food Network’s Chopped and Beating Bobby Flay. Additionally, she serves as a U.S. State Department culinary ambassador and has catered for esteemed events such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the American Indian Film Festival.

Crystal’s forthcoming cookbook, “A Feather and a Fork,” is slated for release from Rodale Books in October 20.


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