Chef Chris Velden believes cooking honest food boils down to one main philosophy — what you see is what you get.
Velden co-owns the Flying Apron Inn & Cookery out of the former Avon Emporium building in Summerville with his wife, Melissa. He estimates that about 90 per cent of the ingredients for dishes prepared at the Flying Apron are locally sourced or purchased at farm markets.
“That’s what we stand for. That’s what the Flying Apron is,” said Velden, a supporter of the organic food movement and Slow Food Nova Scotia member.
The couple moved the Flying Apron, and their two young children, from St. Margaret’sBay upon finding the perfect building to house their growing business.
“It took us seven years to find the property we were looking for,” said Velden, who discovered the serenity of Summerville while visiting friends.
They spent 10 weeks creating an open concept dining area, upgrading the kitchen and renovating the inn’s five rooms to create a modern feel within the new-to-them building that has been a popular gathering place in the small rural community for years.
“The whole idea was to still be the community hub, just give it a facelift,” said Velden.
Musicians Joel Plaskett, David Myles, Christina Martin and The Backyard Devils stayed at the inn during the summer acoustic festival hosted at Peterson’s Campground in Kempt Shore.
The doors to the cookery, staffed with five employees, opened Aug. 1. Velden was pleased to see the place packed during peak dining hours.
The menu at the Flying Apron changes with the seasons, but Velden can offer guests one guarantee.
“It’s very good, healthy, honest food.”
The Veldens want to teach their customers how to cook using local food that is in season. They plan to operate a culinary school out of the cookery in the near future.
Velden envisions the Flying Apron becoming a hotspot for community events on the holidays, a place to view local art and a venue for weekly jam sessions.
“There’s several things planned we just have to wrap our heads around it at this point,” he said.
It’s been a busy few months getting the business off the ground in its new home, but Velden already has a feeling his family made the right move.
“It’s great so far.”