Last year, hubby Dave and I happened to be walking down Princess Street in Kingston, Ontario when a tiny restaurant called Luke’s! caught my eye. There were some pretty serious reviews from the Canadian press hanging in the window. As I read, my eyes widened and my mouth watered. Here, in this relatively small city on the other side of the St. Lawrence, there was a chef doing some of the most amazing cooking we’ve seen anywhere. We’ve dined in Spain, Mexico, New York City and many times at the restaurants of the Culinary Institute of America. Our son is a chef, having graduated with two degrees from that school. Yet we had never found anyone in the northeast playing with food the way this chef was.
We went in for dinner and had our minds – and our palates – blown into some astral plane. The food was adventurous yet comforting – a cauliflower velouté tasted of cauliflower times ten over, yet it was gentle and somehow reassuring. The meats were familiar (after all, just how many animals do we eat?) but tasted just plain more-so. It turned out that this chef was a master charcutier. He could take the pig and make beautiful things out of every single part of the animal, wasting nothing.
And, last summer, the chef was only 16 years old.
Fast forward a little over a year. Chef Luke is now 17. He is still playing in the kitchen, and we are still amazed. We have become email-close to his mother, Carrie, who preps food in the kitchen and does just about everything else out front. On occasion they have one or two other employees, but this is a tiny restaurant doing every single thing from scratch. They make their own wine. They buy 90% of their ingredients from nearby farms. Chef Luke does his own butchering, makes his own prosciutto and his own bread, makes every element on your plate from its most basic components.
And they’re considering relocating to somewhere in the U.S. Northeast.
Would we like to have this chef in Syracuse?
Let’s hope Watertown doesn’t get him first! Take a look of what Watertown thinks of him:
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