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  • Writer's pictureKim MacPherson

Hey You, It's Me Chef Kim!

Hey there, it's Chef Kim MacPherson! As the creative force behind the Lupin experience, caretaker of our lush gardens, and proud owner of Lupin Dining & Pantry, I figured it was time to reintroduce myself. While you can catch a glimpse of my journey on the Our Story page, there are some vivid memories from my childhood that truly shaped my culinary path.

So, where did this all begin? Well, my upbringing on a farm offered me a unique introduction to the world of food. With a family deeply entrenched in agriculture, we raised our own beef cattle and tended to vast fields of corn, soybeans, and winter wheat. This meant countless hours spent in barns or fields alongside my six siblings. And let's not forget my mom's vegetable garden at home, where swiss chard reigned supreme. We harvested bags of it daily, sparking spirited battles over this leafy green—an ingredient you'll find reflected in my menus today!

At just 14, I dipped my toes into the culinary world by working at a snack bar in the local arena. It was here that I honed the basics of kitchen work, surrounded by friends, fun, and four years of invaluable experience.

But I didn't stop there. I sought out more challenging roles, including a stint at a local catering business where I gleaned wisdom from a formidable figure we affectionately called Mama—an Italian dynamo who constantly pushed me to pick up the pace. From prepping to deliveries, we tackled events serving crowds of up to 1800—a baptism by fire that fueled my passion for the kitchen.

A pivotal moment came at a nearby golf course, where I embraced the rush of service during my first shift as a line cook. It was a thrilling experience that ignited a love affair with the adrenaline-fueled chaos of the kitchen. Encouraged by my chef, I decided to pursue formal culinary education.

During a hiatus before culinary school, I landed a gig at my town's finest restaurant, where I crossed paths with a chef who would become a mentor and inspiration. His dedication to local farms and seasonal fare left an indelible mark on me. He saw potential in me, even if my attempt at waffles fell flat—literally—due to a misinterpretation of "whipping to a stiff peak"! I was lucky enough to work with him again when I returned to the area.

Fast forward to my early twenties, and I found myself immersed in the vibrant farm-to-table scene of Niagara On The Lake, Ontario. Here, I refined my technical skills in a kitchen where every ingredient was sourced locally and every dish crafted from scratch. Yet, amidst the culinary excellence, I couldn't ignore the harsh realities of the hospitality industry—the culture of abuse and neglect that too often goes unchecked.

Upon returning to my hometown, I found myself running a quaint teahouse while dabbling in odd catering gigs on the side. It was during one such gig that I crossed paths with Pat & Mary Jane, a middle-aged couple whose faith in me sparked the opening of my first official business Kim MacPherson Catering Service.

At just 20, I was at the helm of my own venture, rallying friends to join me in the kitchen or serve up memorable meals. While profitability was elusive in those early days, the lessons learned and the passion ignited set the stage for a journey that continues to unfold, one delicious moment at a time. From intimate gatherings to lavish weddings, each event fueled my dedication to the craft and reinforced my belief in the transformative power of food.

I ran my business for the next two years before heading to the west coast of Canada, to Vancouver City, to explore the culinary world there. I worked in a few restaurants, including a gourmet sandwich shop, an upscale breakfast place, and an Italian restaurant in West Vancouver. Although I loved it and the three-year experience, I knew I was going to be a business owner again someday.

Vancouver is also where I met my future husband, Mark. We decided to buy a trailer and embark on a cross-country adventure, exploring from the Yukon, Northwest Territories through to the west and central parts of Canada. We completed a farming internship in the north before eventually settling in the Maritimes, which we now call home.

What a dream it was to be able to surf in the morning and head straight to work from the beach! It was almost immediately after getting settled that I found myself deep in the throes of planning my new venture, Food Intuition Catering. This small catering and premade meal business operated from 2015 until 2020 when the pandemic brought it to an abrupt halt. That same year, my son was born, giving me a chance to improve our garden while he slept. What a transformation it underwent—we grew a massive amount of food just for ourselves.

The year 2020 was a time of experimentation. We tested the theory that we could entice customers to drive out to us for food. Initially, we started with Take Away Friday, serving hot meals straight from our kitchen window. It was a hit and soon expanded into an empty room that eventually became Lupin's dining room. The success of our pantry and kitchen takeout built the confidence that Lupin could thrive on a windy road in the countryside.

Fast forward to June 2021, and Lupin Dining & Pantry was born. Since 2013 I have been a self-taught chef, relying on my own curiosity to educate myself and experiment with food. Combining my passion for growing my own food, and challenging myself in the kitchen has helped me create Lupin, and ultimately, my dream job. Lupin has developed more and more each year into a beautiful experience unqiue to itself, and so intimately pure. This is a space that has become what it is because its a creative space for me, and a welcoming place for global food enthusiasts.

I look forward to welcoming you in the dining room again for our 2024 season. Year 4 already!

Keep the curiousity,

Chef Kim

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