Genevieve Allen Hearn
One would think that the tail-end of a global pandemic is a precarious time to open a new restaurant, but then again, not everyone has a record of success like Chef Jason Lynch. Head chef at Le Caveau in Grand-Pré, owner of The Black Spruce restaurant in Gros Morne National Park, creator of a line of preserves, writer of the cookbook Straight From the Line, and producer of a podcast series, Jason Lynch is the entrepreneur equivalent of a turducken. His newest project is Cumin Kitchen and Drink, an “urban café and eatery” located in the Valley Crossroads Health & Wellness Centre in New Minas. We asked Jason about his latest venture.
The Grapevine (GV): Many know you from your fine dining cuisine at Le Caveau. What made you decide to jump into a new project?
Jason Lynch (JL): This project has been in the works for years. We have been looking for a suitable location to open a second restaurant and when we were approached by the ownership of the building in New Minas we felt it was the right fit and decided to take the plunge. Over the past few years there has been a lot of residential and business development in that particular area and we felt there was a need for a restaurant that was based on locally-sourced food and quality coffee in a casual setting. This has been planned to be open about 14 months ago. The project was delayed and we felt to hold off until we come out of the other side of the Covid situation.
GV: What can people expect from Cumin Kitchen and Drink?
JL: A casual environment, focusing on locally-sourced food and beverages at an approachable price point. Cumin will be open in the morning for people to pick up a fresh coffee and grab & go or eat-in items, lunch will feature the fresh produce that the Valley has to offer such as salads, sandwiches, hand-crafted pastas, and pantry items for take home. We will be open 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday.
GV: How do you see gastronomy evolving in the Annapolis Valley?
JL: I feel that the Annapolis Valley is a food destination, and has been back to the days of Alex Clavel and Chez Lavigne. Like every area there are ups and downs and growth periods, but I feel the Valley has so much to offer with the likes of Bessie North House, Juniper, Le Caveau, and the amazing wineries such as Lightfoot & Wolfville and Luckett Vineyards.
GV: How do you create balance between your various work projects and your personal life?
JL: Beatrice Stutz, who is both my business partner and life partner, shares the same passion for the industry that I do. This makes it easier to find balance between work and personal life. It isn’t always easy when in the midst of a new project, but we truly love what we do.
GV: Many folks are looking forward to the day that COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted. In your opinion, do you think the dining experience will see a shift after the pandemic is behind us?
JL: We look forward to get past the pandemic like everyone else. It has taught us some valuable lessons about the industry. I don’t necessarily think the dining experience will see a shift, more so the way restaurants operate. It will take time to go back to the way it was, like other industries that have been heavily affected.
Find Cumin Kitchen and Drink on Facebook, or visit 21 Roy Avenue in New Minas when the urban café opens in mid-April.