Not only does cooking reflect the culture, but it also reveals the resources found in a community’s surrounding environment. I discovered a love for food as a child, later combining my passion for cooking with the desire to know and cuisine of the First Nations peoples better. This is the inspiration behind my dishes.
I work with foragers and hunters in northern Québecwho supply me with exceptional products such as wild cattails and currant leaves. My venison carpaccio recipe, which includes cedar jelly and a sea buckthorn jam, is a great example of my cooking technique. Slices of the freshest venison are garnished with the boreal flavors of cedar and sea buckthorn, a tart a rich berry that can be found fresh or frozen at specialty markets.
At its essence, my work is focused on adapting the traditional pantry of an ancient culture to modern tastes. For the First Nations, respect for Mother Earth is paramount. By staying in harmony with nature, my recipes permit me to rediscover forgotten flavors that long served as a cuisine of survival. The Canadian wilderness has so much to offer: spices, herbs, flowers, mushrooms, and roots, plus boreal nutmeg, peppery green alder (or dune pepper), wood cardamom, serviceberry, wild celery root, and the Labrador tea, a tisane of local herbs. These are the colors in my palette of Indigenous cuisine.
Venison Carpaccio With Cedar Jelly and Sea Buckthorn Jam
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Sea Buckthorn Jam
1 lb (600 g) sea buckthorn berries, rinsed
14 oz (400 g) apples, diced
17½ oz (500 g) sugar
12 thin slices of venison
2 Tbsp (30 ml) cedar jelly
2 tsp (10 ml) duck
Fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper to taste
Microgreens for garnish (optional)
1. In a saucepan with a splash of water, cook sea buckthorn berries over low heat until they burst.
2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan then discard seeds. Add apples to the berry mixture and stir in sugar. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, skimming any foam that forms on the surface. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Place venison on the serving dish. Brush each slice with cedar jelly and duck, then sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper. Garnish with sea buckthorn jam and microgreens.