Ben Jacobs, the man of the hour and cofounder of Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery, weaves his story like the intricate patterns of a Native American quilt— blending tradition, ambition, and a dash of modern audacity. As a proud Osage Nation member and recently minted member of President Biden’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, his culinary revolution finds roots in his heritage.
Jacobs, alongside his partner in change, Matt Chandra, launched Tocabe in 2008. Today, Tocabe is the only American Indian-owned and operated eatery in Metro Denver, its menu a homage to Indigenous cuisine. But it’s the mission beyond the menu that offers the real feast.
“Every restaurant should have a mission,” Jacobs says. “For some, that might be a Michelin star. But for Matt and me, it has always been building a sustainable supply chain of Indigenous farmers, ranchers, producers, tribes, and restaurateurs.”
Earlier this year, this earnest mission of community support birthed the Tocabe Indigenous Marketplace and a Direct-to-Tribe Ready Meal Program. Through it, they’re reimagining access to quality, nutritious, Indigenous-grown ingredients. The marketplace offers a seat at the table for everyone, from ranchers and and our support should resonate through the food production from our lands.”
Jacobs’ appointment to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, & Nutrition reflects his contribution to food sovereignty and wellness. He’s eager to work alongside his esteemed colleagues. “I am excited to collaborate with this diverse group—from pro athletes to cardiologists,” says Jacobs. “But working with José Andrés—someone who genuinely cares about feeding people and has created globally sustainable systems—truly inspires me.”