YARMOUTH COUNTY - When the sea’s a-heaving and the boat’s a’rollin so hard you can’t even boil a pot of water on the stove, the crew still needs to be fed.
That job has become easier for many, thanks to businesses and individuals helping to take the responsibility off family members who’ve supplied home-cooked meals in the past.
Lindsay Doyle is one of those popular meal makers. Close to a year ago she opened Treat Yar-Mouth on the Mood Road, just off Highway 103.
In addition to selling to the public, the list of boats she supplies is growing.
Whipping up meals comes naturally to her. She says she’s been cooking ever since she was a kid.
In Grade 4 she learned how to bake bread in 4-H class… then began selling it to her teachers.
With three brothers - plus her mom and dad - baked goods and meals disappeared quickly in their Ontario home.
“I’ve always just cooked for everybody, my friends, my family,” she says.
Five years ago, Doyle moved to Yarmouth from Saskatoon after the migration of her brothers and parents to the area.
Launch of Treat Yar-Mouth
She met Ryan Roberts, who works aboard the Haul er Nuthin, owned by Jimmy Conrad. Roberts became her partner and, naturally, she wanted to make sure he was well fed while at sea. Not wanting to leave the others out, she prepared enough for all the crew.
“At the end of the second year they were telling me I was crazy not to be selling this stuff,” she says.
Doyle decided to do just that. Her decision wasn’t for the faint of heart. It required wrangling with officials to comply with government regulations and a serious investment of $40,000 to develop the commercial kitchen, now a very busy site.
Most weekdays start with a trip to daycare to drop off her daughter, Karlie, who turns three in February.
Doyle’s work in the kitchen starts around 9 or 10 a.m.
“I have no interest at getting up at 5 a.m., which is why I’m not a bakery,” she says. Depending on orders, she’ll work into the evening, making dough that has to rest overnight for some products.
Wednesdays are usually bread days. Everyone must put their orders in by 9 a.m. She bakes oatmeal brown, multi-grain, white and garlic cheese bread topped with mozzarella. Cinnamon raison, wholewheat and cheddar cheese bread are also available. She uses an automatic 20-quart kneader for production. In addition to the breads she sometimes makes several dozen batches of vanilla-glazed donuts, deliciously gooey cinnamon rolls and Reese chocolate Sklor banana bread.
“I go through a lot of those,” she says.
She moves about her tiny kitchen non-stop - laying mozzarella strips on top of the bread,
opening oven doors to check on the progress of other loaves and crumpling up wax paper dribbled with icing sugar, from beneath the cinnamon rolls, to toss into the garbage. She moves the rolls to a multi-shelved cooling rack and places used bowls and utensils in the sink for washing.
After the baking, orders will be picked up in the evening, sometimes when she’s getting Karlie ready for bed.
“I’ve had crazy, crazy busy days and I just hunker down and do it,” says Doyle.
She’s now baking for a dozen boat crews, compared to nine last year.
“I’ve always just done this myself. I’m going to end up hiring help,” she laughs.
There’s a problem with that, though, she adds, as she doesn’t measure, for the most part, and just tosses stuff in.
“I’ve been doing it for so long it’s just second-nature.”
Doyle likes baking for the crews. Here’s one of the reasons why. Three captains told her last year she wasn’t charging enough, so she increased her prices slightly.
“At the prices I have set I’m not really making a whole lot of money for my time, so I appreciate that they’re honest about it,” she says.
Grant Conrad owns Ol’Eastsider and fishes out of Argyle. He says Doyle’s food is “awesome.”
“We fill the fridge and freezer right full when we get started, then we get the wives to pick more up as we need it.” He especially likes the size that feeds all of the crew.
“You just shove the pan in the oven and when it’s warmed up you’re good to go.”
It saves a lot of work for them, especially in any kind of foul weather, he adds.
“The meat pockets and pizza buns or anything like that, you shove them in the microwave and it only takes a couple of minutes, so the guys can get something into them. It’s really convenient. It’s an awesome service to have around here for anyone doing this kind of work.”
Devan Cottreau picks up the meals for High Roller (Yarmouth homeport) crewmembers.
“It’s great. You fire them in the oven, use paper plates and plastic forks to eat with, there’s no dishes or nothing.”
Crew favourites include pastries and meat-stuffed buns like pizza, sausage and chicken bacon ranch.
“We love ‘em,” Cottreau said.
The menu stimulates the taste buds: sweet and sour meatballs, meatloaf with gravy and garlic mashed potatoes, ham and scalloped potatoes (very popular), honey garlic chicken, Salisbury steak, pork chops with mushroom sauce and cheddar broccoli rice, rappie pie, spaghetti surprise, turkey pot pies and shepherd’s pie. Sandwich selections includes donairs, breakfast buns, pork and mushroom buns, philly cheese steak, barbecue chicken, pizza buns and pulled pork.
Doyle says the meals are not only quick, they save fishermen time and money.
“If they go grocery shopping, they’ll make a massive order for fishing. This way they don’t have to buy, carry and hold all the ingredients for everything and it’s not taking up the space. They don’t have to lose a guy going down to cook, they can just carry on.”
Most of the meals she prepares are packed off directly to her commercial-sized, stand-up freezers. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get to see and hear recipients enjoying her food.
“That’s kind of why I’ve always done it,” she says with a twinge of sadness.
“There are certain people who have certain gifts that they give to others to make them happy. Mine’s always been food. I’ve always made people happy with food.”
Phone: 902 815-8833
Treat Yar-Mouth also has a Facebook Page
Other individuals and businesses supplying fishermen
Wandering Chef in Wedgeport 902 307-1016
Yarmouth Cleaning Ladies 902-748-5555
Anchors Away in Clyde River 902-637-3338 (Has a waiting list)
Debbie Waybret 902-635-3530