Craving Crepes? Crêperie La Petite-Maison brings French food to Yukoners

Émilie Morin and Edwine Veniat each have good luck charms overseeing operations at their fledgling business, Crêperie La Petite Maison. Morin has a wooden wine tap that belonged to her grandfather in France. Veniat has part of an oil lantern from her grandmother.

“Those are real artifacts we brought back and displayed in the business because of their authenticity (they are real antiques that have been used by our ancestors) and it is a good luck charm, as well as reminding us where we are from and our value.”

It seems that the charms are working their magic, because business is booming for Morin and Veniat. But their success is not due to the charms alone—the two entrepreneurs are engaging, talented, and passionate about what they do. And Yukoners are crazy about their crêpes.

The crêperie is a dream come true for Morin, who has always wanted to open a French restaurant. However, for seven years she lived in Vancouver, where there’s too much competition. Veniat invited her to Whitehorse in 2019. The two visited Yukonstruct, where Veniat used Cospace. Morin saw potential in the facility’s kitchen, which was vacant at the time. She even took a picture of it.

“I loved it,” she says of the space.

Then COVID-19 hit and the dream was tucked away. Earlier this year, when the friends became aware that Yukonstruct was holding a competition for the space, they went to work to make the kitchen their own. They went through several rounds of competition and concept development until the selection committee chose their crêperie.

The decision to move to Whitehorse to follow her passion and open a restaurant didn’t come without some loss for Morin, whose partner still lives in Vancouver.

“I sacrificed my relationship because it was a dream,” she says. “This is my passion. I don’t want to say one day ‘Why didn’t I do this?’ I didn’t want to have a regret. So I said ‘Yes. I have this opportunity, I will go to Whitehorse.’”

So was it worth it?

“A lot of people have been very kind,” Morin says. “They give me love.”

“It’s been so good, we’ve been so lucky,” Veniat says. “People have been super excited about the concept. Like the first week of opening we wanted to do a soft launch so we didn’t speak too much about it ‘cause we wanted to make sure everything was ready and we were stressed and we were setting up. And day one there was a line. That was amazing. We felt so appreciated and so loved and day two? Giant line this way and it’s been that way since. It’s super successful. People are super kind. People come back too.”

Of the two La Petite Maison co-owners, Morin is the most passionate about cooking. But making crêpes the right way isn’t easy. Morin went to Paris to learn how to do it authentically. She tells me how on the first day, she had jet lag and her initial attempts were a flop. But the next day she rallied and made the best crêpes in the class.

Then she came back to Whitehorse and taught Veniat, who shares cooking duties. She also takes care of the logistical side of the business, like ordering organic buckwheat flour from Quebec.

The buckwheat flour is used to make the savoury crêpes in the traditional way, which originates in Brittany. The sweet crêpes use white flour. The recipes themselves are a secret. Everything from the hand-mixing of the dough (no machinery allowed) to the ingredients is authentic.

“From A to Z, we do everything,” says Morin.

They also make something for everyone, from strict vegans to gluten-free folks. The savoury crêpes, for example, are vegan and made from guaranteed gluten-free buckwheat. There are vegan cheese, sausage and butter options as well. Substitutions are happily provided at no extra cost.

The menu is extensive, with so many savoury and sweet options, you could eat there every day for a few weeks and not have the same crêpe twice. Specials are changed every week. Sometimes the toppings are not so much French as fusion. For example, at Thanksgiving the crêpes included turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy.

Morin and Veniat try to use as many local products as possible, serving coffee from Firebean Coffee Roasters. They’ve bought apples to support school kids’ fundraising efforts. Their carrot cake is made from Yukon carrots.

“All people talk about the carrot cake,” Morin says. “Maybe better than the crêpe.”

The kitchen is open so people can sit at the counter and watch while Morin and Veniat, donning chef hats, put on a bit of a show while they cook. And while learning to make crêpes is hard, now that Morin and Veniat have mastered the technique, they can whip one up in a minute, maybe a bit more, depending on the topping.

“Speedy Gonzalez,” Morin says in regards to her crêpe production.

And they have to go fast if they want to keep up with demand. When I visit, they have a Friday catering job for 200 crêpes on top of their regular business.

As far as diners go, they have repeat customers who come every week. There are folks of all ages. Sometimes they host groups of elders.

“It’s really nice because they have so many stories to share,” says Veniat.

Morin and Veniat also tell me about a teenager who had a birthday celebration with friends at the crêperie, which delighted the owners. They remark how much it means “when you have a teenager telling you that it’s ‘the best thing ever.’”

They even amuse morning commuters who are driving by as the crêperie opens.

“Every day when we put out our sign to say we’re open, we put on our hats and people driving by are laughing at us,” Veniat says.

The truth is, Morin and Veniat enjoy creating happiness as much as they love making crêpes. And for all the love they put into their cooking, their customers give back by loving them and the crêperie in return. And La Petite Maison owners truly appreciate their customers.

“It’s so special when someone chooses your place,” Morin said.

Creperie La Petite Maison is located at 2180 Second Avenue in the Yukonstruct building.


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