Lauren Cartmel opens Ma Maison restaurant

Chef returns to Vancouver Island roots

  • Dec. 5, 2019 3:00 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

Lexi Bainas column: Singers, actors needed for thre exciting upcoming productions

‘The Winter’s Tale’, ‘Little Women’, and Mass for St. Cecilia are all calling: are you up for them?

Robert Barron column: Winter can be hard, but it brings back good memories

I would carefully poke the handle of the shovel through the snow until it bumped into a solid object

Andrea Rondeau column: What are your time capsule must-haves?

It would also be fun to include some pop culture mementos that represent our time.

Climbers compete for Choc and Chalk

Annual competition attracts more than 100

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read