WHO’S WHO: Jason Lynch – A Grand Chef in his own Domaine!
Three or four times a year, my partner Ian and I like to go out for a very formal dinner. We dress up (shirts and ties and non-Coverse shoes) and we take our time with the meal … it’s a big deal for us! We eat together all the time but these special occasions are something we both look forward to. This year, for our 6th Anniversary, we chose to dine at Le Caveau, part of the Domaine de Grand Pre Winery. It was August 21 and I will never forget a second of that evening… keep reading to find out why!
Besides the positive reviews regarding the tranquil atmosphere and friendly service we’d heard about Le Caveau, one of the factors propelling us to dine there that night was to enjoy the preparations by Chef Jason Lynch so I could review it in this profile. Jason has made quite a name for himself, and with Devour coming up, and so much genuine hype about his cooking talents, I felt it was time to feature Jason.
Jason Lynch has been the head chef at Le Caveau since 2008. Before that he worked at Actons in Wolfville as sous chef and co-chef for original owners David Barrett, Nicholas Pierce, and Chef Werner Bassen. He grew up on a poultry farm in Hortonville and comes from a large family with three sisters and two brothers. After high school he moved to Ontario and worked in the food service industry and attended Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.
Jason is a brilliant chef, let’s just put it out there. The meal I had on August 21 was exceptional work, both in presentation and taste, and the representation of local foodstuffs was evident. Le Caveau was the perfect place for our intimate dinner, and the staff complimented Jason’s dishes well with their knowledge of his ingredients and proper wine pairings. On being a chef, Jason states, “I started in the food service industry right out of high school, doing many different types of food service. What I like about what I do are the people. The culinary world is filled with an amazing amount of hard working, dedicated, and passionate people that just want to share their love of what they do with others who appreciate food, drink, and the togetherness a good meal can bring. Le Caveau has won many awards since 2008 including the Taste of Nova Scotia Best Restaurant three times (as well as being) named one of the Worlds 20 Best Winery Restaurants by Wine Access Magazine, just to name a few.” Check out the grandprewines.ns.ca/
restaurant/ website for more details on menu, awards, special events, and more.
When asked about his favourite dishes and what motivates him, Jason replied, “I don’t really have favourite dishes, I just like working with all the product we have in the Valley – seasonally based produce, fish, and meats. Some of the things I like the most are our cheese nights in the fall featuring raclette and fondue as well as our brunch which returns mid November. And I guess what motivates me to continue this line of work is a deep-seated passion for the industry, and respect for all the other people in the industry doing it as well. There is something about working with all the unique products Nova Scotia has to offer that makes me want to strive for excellence in this field. Menus are seasonal so they are reworked every couple of months, including wine pairings, so it keeps it fresh for me and keeps the creative juices flowing.”
Jason is also the Culinary Coordinator for the Devour Food Film Festival, one of the most unique festivals in Nova Scotia.It is a celebration of film and food that should not be missed. Check out devourfest.com for all the details. And if you want to “cook like Jason”, you can pick up a copy of his book *Straight from the Line*, a collection of appetizers, mains, soups, sauces, sides, and desserts you can successfully make at home, without investing in expensive equipment or having to hire a sous chef. You can purchase the book at Le Caveau Restaurant, at large and independent bookstores across Canada, or by ordering it online at ablesensepublishing.ca.
What Jason loves most about this area is the mix of agriculture, culinary, and beverage industry. As a chef he couldn’t ask for a more inspiring place to live and work. He plans to continue to promote Grand Pre Wines as a food and wine destination with some focus on growing the retail product line of food products and other culinary-related projects. Jason knows that it takes a dedicated team, all focused on the same goal, to achieve great things and he shows no signs of wavering from this belief.
Now, back to August 21. As I stated, the meal was exceptional! The spacing out of the dishes and the service were top notch and I was so excited to celebrate my anniversary at Le Caveau. And then, between our entrée and our dessert, Ian *proposed* to me in front of a packed room… and I said YES! Factoring in the atmosphere, Jason’s delicious meal, and the memory of our engagement, you can see why this evening will stay with me forever! Thanks Jason!
Photo credit: Jason Lynch