This column appeared in today's Star Phoenix.
Three student chefs from Cultivate, the new “pop up” restaurant at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, with their mentor (l-r) Jerimiah Bezaire, Erica Krumpitz, Chef Moe Mathieu and Kyla Hurst.
It was an evening of fine dining—carrot coconut soup, roast hip of beef with horseradish and potatoes, fresh foccacia bread and, for dessert, cheesecake smothered in cherry sauce. The food was delicious, the service was friendly and the setting was, well, strangely familiar.
The restaurant is called Cultivate and the theme is Canadian cuisine—classic comfort food elevated to the level of fine dining—entirely prepared and served by a group of culinary students on their summer break. “When young chefs work in a kitchen, they do a lot of chopping and prepping, but they don’t get a lot of opportunity to cook,” says Mathieu. “Now they’re going to learn to run a restaurant, from cooking to paying the bills.”
As if to prove the truth of it, he invited my husband and me to a “pop up” restaurant for just us two, where three of his students practiced preparing some of the dishes that will appear on the menu of Cultivate.
Mathieu says Cultivate is a not-for-profit restaurant; the students are unpaid and the proceeds will be put back into the culinary venture. The restaurant will “pop up” for three hours on Tues., Wed., Fri. and Sat. evenings from June 18 to August 20 at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market.