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

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

Jennifer Rice BC NDP North Coast Incumbent was re-elected for a third according to the preliminary results on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Jennifer Rice is North Coast MLA for third term

Preliminary election results show NDP Majority government

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Most Read