Chef Lynsey Armstrong was raised on a family farm near Elnora, AB. She grew up cooking and baking with her mom, making all sorts of goodies to sell at the local farmer’s market.
After graduating high school, she moved to Red Deer and made her way into the restaurants. She started out setting up the line at Earls, and then worked her way up to supervisor. It was there that she began her apprenticeship. She was very interested in farm to table, having come from a farm, so she finished my apprenticeship at Cilantro & Chive in Lacombe. She learned a lot working under some of the best chefs in central Alberta.
After a few years, she moved back to the farm, missing the garden and what life had to offer out there. She wanted to be closer to home so she started at Field & Forge, a local craft brewery and restaurant, moving on to become Sous Chef. Then she was offered an opportunity at DNA Gardens, to create her own kitchen and small café menu. Throughout her career, she has always dreamed of opening an outdoor patio kitchen, craving the fresh air and sun, so that is what they did. She feels very fortunate to be able to go back to her roots, while also pursuing her passion for the culinary arts.
What made you want to become a chef?
“Growing up cooking with my mom, I feel I always knew I wanted to be one. It wasn’t until I moved out and was cooking for my family and friends that the fire started. Food brings people together, seeing everyone’s smiling faces and hearing their laughter, it makes it all worthwhile.”
Why do you use Alberta ingredients in your kitchen?
“There is nothing like the quality of farm fresh local ingredients. They aren’t being picked green and trucked from who knows where. You get to know your farmers and learn their stories. Growing up on a farm I know firsthand the struggle farmers go through to keep things going. I want to be able to support the little guys.”
What is your favourite Alberta ingredient to use?
“There is so many to choose from! I would have to say brisket, I love getting grass-fed brisket from local farms. It is a tough cut but when you smoke it all day and add a local craft beer, it turns juicy and tender, full of great flavor. Also, we have planted edible flowers and herbs around our kitchen, so we can go out and grab from our environment to use for any dish we want to create.”
What dish should guests be sure to try on your menu?
“They should definitely try the Pulled Brisket Sandwich! It features our signature smoked brisket from Gemstone Grass-Fed Beef, house made saskatoon BBQ sauce and a creamy coleslaw, on a kaiser bun. It is absolutely to die for.”
What is a favourite kitchen/cooking memory?
“I used to help out with the kid’s cooking programs at the college. Working with those kids were some great memories and I felt like I was helping them find a passion for cooking, bringing up the next generation of chefs.”
Why do you take part in Alberta on the Plate?
“Meet producers and other restaurants with the same ideals, bringing the community together. We all need to help each other in this current climate, and that is what Alberta on the Plate is about. Bringing awareness to all that Alberta has to offer. “