A Tusket-based entrepreneur will be offering culinary experiences this summer, teaching others how to prepare, then savour, local seafood in chowders, fish cakes, pan fried and creamed, as well as Acadian dishes like rappie pie and fricot.
Laura Muise is one of 28 recipients in the region to receive funding ($10,000) from the Southwest Nova Tourism Task Team, for projects designed to bring new and repeat visitors to southwest Nova Scotia and encourage them to travel throughout the area.
She says she’s excited to be participating in the program.
“These experiences and all of us working together are important, as I think it will help to keep our visitors here longer,” she said.
“We are getting creative and you have the best of the best offering these experiences.”
In her newly installed kitchen at The Hatfield House Culinary Experiences she will be drawing upon many years of experience to guide others in creating tasty memories.
The property overlooks the Tusket River and is located on Rte. 3, five buildings past the Argyle Township Court House and Gaol, on the left.
Muise remembers setting up an imaginary restaurant as a child, behind her father’s boat shop in Argyle Sound.
Using crates and old boards to create a kitchen, tables and chairs, she’d then mix mud and sawdust to make cakes that she decorated with wild flowers.
She says when her brothers were not chasing her with live snakes they would sit down at one of her tables and pretend to like her cooking.
In her late teens she was employed in customer service and restaurants, waitressing, and working as a hostess and short order cook.
After marrying, she and her husband set up a kiosk at a local mall offering specialty yogurt shakes, salads, soups, desserts and take-out frozen yogurt.
She worked for a decade managing Rudders Seafood Restaurant and Brew Pub and in recent years has studied culinary arts with other chefs in her travels, developed her food photography portfolio and established a blog called Laura’s Tastes.
“I’ve put a lot of effort into this,” she said regarding her culinary pursuits.
“I think it’s important that if you’re going to do it, you do it well.”
The culinary experiences will be held each Tuesday until October. For the first event on June 3, 3-6 p.m., an Acadian meal of rappie pie with bread pudding for dessert will be created.
An assistant will also be involved with the culinary experiences.
Freshly picked fruits and harvested vegetables in season will be incorporated in the experiences. The focus will be on local seafood: lobster, scallops, haddock, oysters, mussels and clams, as well as Acadian dishes.
Presentation is important to Muise. She says she takes great pleasure in preparing a meal plated with flair and sees it as art.
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Meanwhile, preparations for culinary experiences to savour are full speed ahead, with kitchen equipment installations, dining room set up, and hundreds of other details attended to.
“I’m grateful that I was chosen to receive the grant. It’s going to help contribute towards set-up costs,” she said.
She adds that she’s looking forward to greeting guests at the door.
She’ll also be offering seasonal dining (lunch and dinner) at The Hatfield House Culinary Experiences later this summer, specializing in local dishes, seafood and steak. The venue can also be booked for small events like showers and private functions.
The establishment will be open Wednesday to Saturday serving lunch and dinner. On Sunday brunch will be served.
On Monday nights she will have guest chefs preparing special offerings.
“I love to cook, but it’s not all about me. I’m highlighting the region,” she said.
In total, the Southwest Nova Tourism Task Team provided $414,535 in funding to business operators in the region that were selected through a competitive process.