Favourite local chef
1. Renée Girard (Made by Paste)
2. Christa Bruneau-Guenther (Feast Cafe Bistro)
3. Stefan Lytwyn (Kosmo’s Space Cowboy Food Cantina)
“It’s really great to feel the support from the community,” Renée Girard, two-time winner of the Uniter 30’s favourite local chef category, says. Her business, Made by Paste, offers handmade pasta and sauces for people to cook at home.
Food has always been important to Girard, who grew up on her family’s farm.
“I was always around growing food or someone cooking food, so it’s kind of always been a part of me.”
She started her culinary journey as a front-of-house restaurant staffer, but switched to the kitchen on her partner’s recommendation.
“He could tell that's just where I was happiest,” she says.
One job was particularly influential. Harth Mozza & Wine Bar, where Girard was the pasta chef prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, is “where my love for pasta, or homemade pasta, came about.”
When COVID hit, and she was laid off, Girard asked herself, “How can I make this work? How can I still get food to people’s tables, still do what I love and also help pay my bills?”
That is how Made by Paste emerged.
“Starting my business has always been a dream of mine,” she says. “A lot of the ingredients that I use either come from within Manitoba or from a source that I’m proud of supporting”
She says a lot of love goes into the making of her pastas, and “everything is handmade” by herself, her sister-in-law or her friend.
A favourite pairing of hers is the pappardelle with pork and beef ragu.
When discussing the future of Made by Paste, she says “The support has been really amazing, and it’s been a little difficult keeping up, to be honest ... I still want it to be fresh and local and really thoughtful and intentional food. (I want) to figure out how to grow the business but still keep it small.
“It would be nice to see everyone spread the love and continue to eat good food throughout this, because I feel like food can be pretty special and bring people together.”
Published in Volume 75, Number 12 of The Uniter (December 2, 2020)