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

FoodFood and WineLifeLifestyleRecipe

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

Just Posted

Although the Campbell River Shoebox Project is not actually collecting shoeboxes this year, instead they are providing gift cards, coordinator Alison Skrepnick (pictured from last year) hopes Campbell River and North Island residents will still participate. this year’s Dec. 9 deadline is looking. Photo contributed
Time running out to help brighten the holiday for local vulnerable women

The Campbell River and North Island Shoebox Project deadline is Dec. 9

Franca Warkentin, President, and Annie Holmes, Trustee, of the Eagles Ladies Auxiliary present a cheque for $500 to Hamper Chairman Ken Niesen. Photo contributed
Final week to apply for Christmas Hampers is upon us

Applications are coming in slowly but the Dec. 5 deadline is Saturday.

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Campbell River businesses not immune to mask refusals and disturbances

Police have not handed out fines yet under the new provincial mandate

The Rotary Rock and Roll trail ready to ride. Photo supplied by Bryan Yells
PHOTOS: River City Cycle Club opens new mountain bike trail

Trail building seen as way of giving back to trail network

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Most Read