CHARLESTOWN — Wampanoag Chef Sherry Pocknett has been creating culinary surprises in kitchens since she was a bit of lady rising up on Cape Cod.
“First in my Easy Bake Oven,” stated Pocknett with a heat snicker and vast smile one afternoon final week as she wiped her forehead and sat down for a break at one of many 9 small tables inside Sly Fox Den Too, her not too long ago opened restaurant in Charlestown that options meals based mostly on her Wampanoag tribe meals traditions like smoked bluefish hash and Three Sisters Rice (wild rice, corn, squash and beans) together with conventional fare with a twist like cranberry-walnut scorching desserts with Pequot Grade-A maple syrup.
“We’re just people who love good food,” stated Pocknett. “And, we love it here.”
Sly Fox Den Too sits on the intersection of Routes 2 and 112, in a small purple constructing that when housed the Gentleman Farmer Diner. Inside the tidy restaurant, freshly painted in delicate browns and blues, an infinite portray of quahogs, by North Stonington artist Jeanette Vertentes, is prominently hung.
“I saw that and knew I had to buy it,” stated Pocknett, whose menu of the day featured sauteed little necks. “It’s become a conversation piece.”
“We were all born with wooden spoons in our mouths,” stated Pocknett, wanting over at her daughter, Jade Galvin, and her niece, Leah Tiexiera, who work alongside her.
Her uncle, she defined — Chief Flying Eagle, Earl Mills Sr. — was the chef-owner of a preferred Cape Cod restaurant known as The Flume. At some level or one other, she stated, almost everybody in her household labored at The Flume, which was located on the banks of the Mashpee-Wakeby Pond.
“Everybody still talks about it,” Pocknett stated as she went to discover a copy of her uncle’s cookbook, “Cape Cod Wampanoag Cookbook, Wampanoag Indian Recipes, Images, and Lore.”
“He always had butternut squash and he always had whatever was fresh and was in season … duck, steamers, fish, scallops, quahogs, eels.”
“It was one of my first jobs,” Pocknett stated as she poured a tall glass of ice chilly sassafras tea, brewed from wild foraged roots. “It’s where I learned to make pies.”
“My mother made the best pies in the whole world,” she stated.
It was at The Flume — and from her father, Chief Sly Fox, Vernon Pocknett, and her grandmother, Delscena Hendricks, a chef and grasp baker — that she realized how you can bake, and how you can prepare dinner with crops, animals and fish that had been native and in season.
“Farm to table,” she stated, nonetheless smiling. “The bounty of the season. We eat by the season.”
Growing up on Cape Cod as a part of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Pocknett stated she has all the time been conscious of the seasons and the vital position the seasons play in Native American delicacies.
“Food is a common denominator,” she stated. “People love good food … good, simple, fresh food.”
“But we have to educate people about the bounty,” she stated, stating the window to her raised-bed gardens the place she grows herbs and greens, “and we have to take care of the earth.”
Pocknett, who started catering for The Flume a long time in the past, turned her enterprise right into a cellular meals truck, which she named Sly Fox Den in honor of her father.
“She served up delicacies like quail, turtle soup, and rabbit pie at festivals and pow-wows across the East Coast,” in response to Elise Hugus, a author for “Edible Cape Cod.”
Pocknett, who nonetheless maintains her catering enterprise, later grew to become the meals and beverage supervisor on the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center in Mashantucket, the place she earned awards and a stellar status for her dishes, which included menu objects like hearty venison stew, salmon roasted over an open hearth, clam chowder, turtle soup, fry bread and blueberry droop.
“Sherry is amazing,” stated Jason R. Mancini, government director of Connecticut Humanities and former government director of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center and a longtime member of its analysis workers. “She brought such an innovative spirit to the museum. She was willing to try anything so we let her be and let her make her magic.”
“She’s an educator at heart,” he added, noting that Pocknett’s snapping turtle soup is one in all his “favorite dishes of all time.”
“I am so thrilled to know that she has opened her own restaurant — one that honors her father — right in the heart of South County and Indian country,” he stated. “Now she can introduce the rest of the world to her cooking.”
“I adore her,” he added. “And I am just so happy for her.”
Pocknett, who serves such Wampanoag delicacies as smoked bluefish hash, smoked salmon hash, venison sausage and three-sisters rice at her new place, stated she had lengthy been been on the lookout for the best place to make use of as a house base for her catering enterprise.
There was one small constructing in Preston, Conn., particularly she usually seen, she stated, a constructing she admired as she handed by in her travels. It was on the Poquetanuck Bay, not removed from the museum. When it went available on the market, she knew she was meant to be there and shortly made plans to purchase the property and open her enterprise, Sly Fox Den.
“We closed on the building,” she stated, then “the COVID comes along. It did a number on us.”
But final March, on her approach dwelling from a ceremony held by the Narragansetts in Charlestown, she noticed a small signal on the little purple constructing on the junction of Routes 2 and 112 that stated “For Rent.”
“It was such a cute place,” stated Pocknett. “So, I gave the lady a call.”
Sly Fox Den Too opened nearly 4 weeks in the past for breakfast and lunch. The plan, she stated, is for her daughter, Jade, who lives in Ashaway, to run Sly Fox Den Too, her niece, Leah, to run the Preston website, and her daughter, Cheyenne, to run her third place on Cape Cod.
“They’ve been cooking since they were knee-high to the grasshoppers,” she stated. “They don’t need me. These girls are amazing … they make me look good.”
Beginning Friday, the restaurant, which has 10 picnic tables exterior along with the 9 tables and three stools at a small counter inside, will start serving dinners.
Pocknett stated she additionally plans so as to add extra desserts to the menu, like peach shortcake, strawberry shortcake, blueberry droop and sassafrass sorbet. In the autumn, she’ll add Indian pudding and cranberry-based desserts.
So far, the most well-liked breakfast and lunch dishes have been Pocknett’s Bisquits-N-Gravy, Fire Cracker Shrimp & Nausamp and the Sly Fox Benedict.
The contemporary fish, “lightly breaded with nausamp and deep-fried,” is all the time in style, Pocknett stated.
Nausamp consists of yellow corn grits, whereas venison sausage on Chef Sherry’s Corn Cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce make up the Sly Fox Benedict, she defined.
“Dinners are going to be a little different,” she stated. “I think I’m going to show off.”
Plans for recreation dinners and different specials are additionally within the works.
Once the eating places are up and working, Pocknett stated, she plans to “go home to Mashpee” and spend as a lot time as attainable along with her seven grandchildren, 4 granddaughters and three grandsons.
“I am in love with every single one of them,” she stated.
Sly Fox Den Too is open Wednesday by means of Monday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinners will probably be served from 5 to 9 p.m. starting Friday. The restaurant is closed Tuesdays.