A chef from Regina had the chance to delight some taste buds south of the border at a prestigious culinary event she was handpicked to be a part of.
Louise Lu from Skye Bistro & Cafe in the Saskatchewan Science Centre made her way to New York City at the end of May for The Flavors of Canada event at The Beard House.
Lu and her partner, Milton Rebello, opened the restaurant, named after their daughter Skye, about one year ago.
They won a Restaurant Food Innovation Award in Toronto last year, qualifying one of them to cook at the James Beard Foundation event.
A total of ten chefs from across Canada were invited to cook at the dinner and each was responsible to come up with a dish made from ingredients local to their region.
Lu said Rebello encouraged her to go on behalf of their restaurant.
"They needed someone to make desserts and that's my specialty," Lu said.
In advance, Lu prepared 200 prairie lentil macarons filled with a honey lavender mascarpone cream, which she said she packed in bubble wraps and carried on the plane with her.
Lu made the dessert using lentils from a local supplier, honey from her friend's farm and lavender grown at their restaurant garden. Then, she hand painted flowers on them with edible paint made from plants.
Other dishes served at the event included spotted prawn, a seafood charcuterie, foie gras, venison and lamb.
Lu said it was their goal to make the best meal possible to represent Canada. She said she was inspired by the chefs they met and how well they highlighted their region through food.
"Saskatchewan has so many products I could've used and I could've done better," Lu said. "You only realize that after you see how other chefs are doing their parts and after you see how other chefs bring those ingredients together."
Despite Lu's second thoughts, Skye Cafe is known for growing their own food. This year, Lu said they have a garden full of tomatoes, herbs, leafy greens and other vegetables.
Last year, she said they had so many heirloom tomatoes they made homemade ketchup which added another element to their dishes.
"I love food so I want other people to enjoy good food like I do," Lu said.