The NATIFS team just returned from the RES (Reservation Economic Summit) 2023 conference put on by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED). This was the 37th year of the gathering, held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

We had a call with conference organizers a few weeks before the event, both to talk about how we could get the most out of our first RES experience, but also to learn more about the NCAIED. We look forward to more discussions as we brainstorm ways to partner with them on our Native culinary entrepreneur support at NATIFS – and also how we might help with designing a culinary focus for their programming. 

Incredibly, NCAIED was able to work with the culinary team at Caesars Palace to incorporate some of Chef Sean’s recipes into the conference food service. Sean was invited to address the assembly on the main stage during lunch on the second day of the conference, while his dessert of Agave + Tepary Bean Cake With Molé Frosting and Cocoa Nibs was served to more than 1500 conference participants. 

At a poolside reception later that evening, conference attendees sampled these appetizers:

Turkey + Wild Rice Meatballs with Cranberry Sauce and Puffed Amaranth

White Bean Spread + Smoked Trout with Wojape and Blue Corn Tostada

Mini Wild Rice Cakes + Grilled Mushrooms with Blackberry + Spruce Sauce

It was a highly unusual and amazing opportunity to provide scaled recipes and information on sourcing the ingredients to make these foods. Typically, large culinary programs in hotels and conference centers don’t allow or won’t work with foods outside their usual lineup. We can now hold up Caesars Palace as an example of a culinary team who was able to successfully prepare new foods – and in huge numbers. 

This is the shopping list we sent to the Caesars Palace culinary team, to prepare 1500 pieces of each item served: 



wild rice: 180 lbs

sunflower oil: 4.25 gallons

kosher salt: 7 lbs

cranberries, dried: 15 lbs

amaranth (grain): 25 lbs

rosehips, seedless, cut/sifted: 3 lbs

smoked salt: 1.75 lbs

maple syrup pure, dark: 4.25 gallons

vegetable stock: 3 gallons

blue corn tortillas 6″: 1324 

white tepary beans: 125 lbs

sage leaves, dried: 1 qt

black or brown tepary beans or flour: 34 lbs

agave nectar (syrup): 8.5 gallons

guajillo chilies, dried: 1 lbs

cocoa powder: 3.5 lbs

cassava flour: 3.5 lbs

agar agar: 1 lb

cocoa nibs: 10 lbs



turnips: 24 lbs

butternut squash: 24 lbs

leeks: 75 lbs

oyster mushrooms: 75 lbs

blackberries: 66 lbs

strawberries: 16 lbs

blackberries: 16 lbs

raspberries: 16 lbs

sage, fresh: 11 lbs



cranberries: 55 lbs

spruce tips, fresh (frozen): 3 lbs available at foods in season



turkey, ground: 240 lbs

smoked trout (or any smoked white fish): 85 lbs


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