Lauren Cartmel opens Ma Maison restaurant

Chef returns to Vancouver Island roots

  • Dec. 5, 2019 4:00 p.m.

– Story by Angela Cowan Photography by Don Denton

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and I grew up on Vancouver Island in Ladysmith.

How long have you been at Ma Maison and where were you before that?

I opened Ma Maison in March this year, and before that I was in LA for many years. I ran Messhall in Los Feliz, Comme Ça in West Hollywood, and the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel. Before LA I was in London at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea.

Why did you decide to become a chef?

Mrs. Helmkay, my high school home ec teacher, really inspired and encouraged me, so I decided to enrol at the culinary program at VIU (which was still Malaspina College at that time).

What’s the one ingredient you can’t live without?

That’s a tough one! I’d have to say olive oil, then butter, then lemon.

What is your go-to meal when you’re low on time?

At home it’s tacos. It’s something my kids will actually eat.

What would your last meal be?

Dinner with friends at Osteria Mozza’s mozzarella bar.

What is the best recent food trend?

Eating more local, but I think that’s an old trend that happily has come back to us.

What is the most overrated recent food trend?

Sous vide red meat. I’ll take a charcoal grill any day.

What is a good simple piece of advice for pairing wine and food?

Pair like with like if you’re unsure. Big bold flavours can take a big wine; delicate food flavours will need a softer wine. When in doubt ask an expert. I always ask for recommendations when looking for something new. We have such great vineyards and wine stores to choose from on the island.

What is your favourite cuisine to cook?

French.

What is your favourite cuisine to eat?

Italian.

When are you happiest at work?

When a farmer or forager walks through my door holding a box to surprise me.

When are you happiest outside of work?

River days, farmers’ market shopping and hiking.

Can you share an easy, seasonal recipe for a quick bite this winter? See below.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

2 lbs cream cheese

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 cups sour cream

1 3/4 cups pumpkin purée

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground clove

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

5 eggs

In a food processor, thoroughly purée cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, pumpkin and spices. Then add eggs and purée until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Pour into prepared cake pan with crust. Bake 1 hour at 300º F, then remove from oven and cool. Refrigerate 3 hours before serving.

Crust

1 1/2 cups graham crumbs

2 Tbsp sugar

5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1/2 tsp salt

Mix ingredients in a bowl, then press into a non-stick springform cake pan. Bake at 350º F for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. Set aside until ready to fill with cheesecake mix.

Find out more about Chef Lauren Cartmel and her Saltair restaurant Ma Maison at her site here.

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ghostriders extend win streak to eight games

The action and energy grew exponentially at Friday night’s Ghostriders game. The… Continue reading

Hands on avalanche training for FSS students

On Thursday, January 9 the day began with a golden sunrise and… Continue reading

Friday fatality at Fernie Alpine Resort

It’s the second person to die in a tree well at a ski resort in B.C. in the past week.

Two weekend rescues for Fernie SAR

Fernie Search and Rescue (SAR) was activated twice this past weekend to… Continue reading

To Australia from Fernie, helping those back home

With her home country going up in flames over 13,000 kilometres away,… Continue reading

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

‘Epic sky palace’: B.C. businesses help create dream treehouse for boy recovering from cancer

‘It was kind of a bright shining beacon at the end of a horrible, dark tunnel’

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

B.C. teacher suspended for poking student in stomach, pulling another’s ponytail

Teacher also swore in classroom, used Facebook to contact students

Larry Walker Jr. and Sr. keeping expectations low for hall-of-fame induction

Walker needs 75 percent of votes in order to be inducted into Cooperstown

Gene Simmons to launch new Titans of Rock music festival in Grand Forks

The rock legend has partnered with Chuck Varabioff to run Titans of Rock in Grand Forks

Most Read