Spotlight on Indigenous Leadership: Meet Tyler Cardinal

Published on : 5/9/22
    • Time with Sodexo: 7 years
    • Location: Minto Mine, Yukon
    • Segment: Energy & Resources
    • Role: Executive Chef and Assistant General Manager

    When you're working at a remote site more than 400 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, it's challenging to get supplies that others take for granted. 

    Tyler Cardinal says, Pretty much everything is kind of hard to get up here, just because of the supply chain. It can be a real daunting task to facilitate some of the needs of the mine.

    Thanks to the ongoing service, support and tenured experience of Sodexo team members like Cardinal, remote sites like Minto Mine can face these challenges head-on.

    The supplies needed for the mine can include things as simple as to-go containers, but their journey to the mine and planning ahead for orders can be complicated. The mine has an inventory of 800 items that must be stocked at all times, despite whatever challenges the climate or supply chain shortages present.

    Tyler Cardinal says, There are times where we must make a 10-week order to make sure that we have enough supplies to last us for the allotted time.

    Cardinal has worked at Minto Mine for four years and has worked for Sodexo for about seven. Before coming to Minto, he worked at a gold mine in British Columbia, then a tungsten mine on the border of the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

    Cardinal is from the Saddle Lake Cree First Nation in Alberta, where he learned his love for cooking as a child. My grandmother really helped me choose the career I chose because she would include me in her day-to-day baking, making soups and just teaching the ways of cooking, he says. 

    He vacationed in the Yukon as a child, then decided to stay after visiting friends in the area. He found a job as a second cook while looking for work in Whitehorse. After joining Sodexo, he spent much of his time baking.

    With baking, you really must be precise. It's more of a science; you can throw a little bit of salt into some Bolognese or something to make it taste better. But if you were to exclude salt in a batch of bread altogether, the texture wouldn’t be right, and it would have no flavour. There are many different things that could change if you miss just one small measurement, he says. It keeps my mind fresh because of doing all the conversions from metric to Imperial. So that's why I enjoy it: it keeps me on my toes.

    He estimates about 30% of the mine's workforce is comprised of Indigenous people from all over the Yukon. Cardinal and his team find ways to showcase their heritage by holding functions for Indigenous communities, organizing group dinners and bringing dishes to their assemblies. At the last function we had, we put together a steak dinner for the local Selkirk First Nation community along with Minto Mine, and it went off wonderfully, he says.


    Tyler Cardinal’s Fry Bread

    One of Cardinal's signature dishes is an Indigenous recipe for bannock, or fry bread, made with wheat flour. I don't really measure it cause my grandmother had taught me how to do it at an early age, but it's the simplest dish ever, he says.

    Tyler Cardinal says:

    It is one of my personal favourites when you have a big bowl of moose stew and a few pieces of fry bread on a cold winter night. Nothing says home quite like that for me.

    Recipe yields: about 20 pieces of bread


    • 8 cups of all-purpose flour
    • 3 tablespoons of baking powder
    • 1 tablespoon of salt
    • 2 tablespoons of sugar
    • 40 grams, or slightly more than 3 tablespoons, of yeast
    • 4 to 5 cups of water



    1. Mix all ingredients except yeast and water. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour about 4.5 cups of lukewarm water into the center of the bowl.
    2. Add the yeast and let it bloom in the lukewarm water for about five minutes.
    3. Mix with a wooden spoon until a ball forms, then transfer to a baking board.
    4. Knead the dough until completely mixed with few to no lumps, or for about 8 minutes.
    5. Grease the bowl that was used and let the dough rise in it for about half an hour, with a piece of plastic wrap over it to keep the dough from drying out.
    6. Once the dough has doubled in size, make baseball-sized portions. This should yield about 20 or so. Then gently knead into discs and poke a hole through the center.
    7. Let the portions rise with a wet cloth over them for another 10 minutes.
    8. While you are waiting for the portions to rise, heat your deep fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    9. When the oil is hot enough, carefully drop the dough discs into the fryer and cook until golden brown or about 2 minutes.
    10. Once browned on one side, use tongs to flip the bread over and continue to cook on the other side.
    11. When both sides are golden brown, transfer the bread to a wire cooling rack so the excess oil drips off. You could also use a paper towel-lined bowl.


    Eat with preserves and butter or honey. Fry bread is also a great accompaniment to stews and soups or a replacement for dinner rolls.