If your taste buds long for something new and your eyes are looking for something as pretty as it is tasty, you need to find Karina Lapointe.
This local chef graduated from two different professional culinary schools in Québec but her training started long before then.
“I’ve always been crazy about cooking,” says Lapointe. “I started making pies in the sandpit at age three. By the time I hit elementary school, I was in charge of meals for my younger siblings.”
She has since worked in a variety of restaurants, cafés, hotels and resorts in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Here in the Yukon, Lapointe has cooked at the four star Inn on the Lake where she was the chef for several years and at the Yukon Outfitters Association annual Wild Game Banquet.
Last year, Lapointe decided to set aside the restaurant and hotel industry. She wanted to explore different ways of cooking and develop new culinary experiences for Yukoners.
“When I studied cuisine, I thought true gastronomy only existed in fancy and expensive restaurants and hotels,” says Lapointe. “Once I worked in their kitchens, I realised there is no room for innovation or creation.”
Lapointe is offering an opportunity to experience her edible art this month. On Saturday, May 18 she is hosting a seven course gourmet dinner at the Centre de la francophonie. The event, called Souper Gourmand, features local bison and halibut, and sorbet made with spruce tips foraged locally. This fine dining experience is an artful preparation of northern ingredients prepared in a French-fusion style.
Though trained in French cuisine, she likes to play with colours and flavours. Lapointe loves experimenting and isn’t afraid to mix bacon with chocolate.
“Making food that is aesthetically pleasing is really important to me,” she says. “If your meal looks great, you’ll take more time to savour and appreciate it, and that’s what food is all about.”
This summer, you can visit her at Shipyards Market where she’ll have a stand with crepes and artwork.
In addition, Lapointe is developing a dining experience that is an alternative to going to a restaurant: a meal prepared in the comfort of your own home.
You want to treat yourself and some friends to a nice meal without sticking to traditional menus? Invite Lapointe over to develop a menu together, based on your budget and tastes. Pick a date and time, and she will take over your kitchen to prepare and serve you and your guests.
The Gourmet Dinner takes place on May 18 at 6 p.m. at the Centre de la francophonie. The Brass Knuckle Society and other musical guests will be performing. Tickets are available at the Centre de la francophone.