Elsie Bear's Kitchen Receives Clean Bill of Health
It doesn't take much to receive a health inspection violation from the City of Winnipeg - a light burnt out in the refrigerator, soup pots not quite warm enough or maybe one of the staff forgot to put on a rubber glove while flipping the sausages. Any one of these things could lead to a violation as per the City's Food Service Inspections.
The Metis-owned family business, Elsie Bear's Kitchen, received 100 per cent health and cleanliness rating during their inspection last month. Not a single violation was found.
"It was awesome and it was like 'Woohoo!' when he went to his computer and actually put it on paper," exclaimed Sylvia Desjarlais, the lady behind the delicious eats at Elsie Bear's.
Sylvia says the inspector told her he would go back to the office and his manager would say, "What do you mean 100 per cent?" They were told it is extremely rare to get a perfect score.
He told Sylvia that there's always something they catch, so it's obvious they know what they're doing. Sylvia said all the equipment, cleanliness of the restaurant and the staff was perfect.
"Usually they let you know when they're coming, but this visit was a surprise," said Sylvia. "That's what makes this so great!"
Sylvia and Al have owned Elsie Bear's Kitchen for six years and when they took over the business they kept the name to continue to honour Elsie Bear, a past MMF Senator.
"I knew Elsie when I was a kid in Selkirk," recalled Sylvia. "She was the "cookie lady". She would invite anybody, all the kids in the neighbourhood, into her house and feed them."
MMF staff and members of the community flock to Elsie Bear's Kitchen at the MMF Home Office at 150 Henry Ave. Monday to Friday during the operating hours of 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sylvia takes care of the cooking while her husband Al Desjarlais takes care of the catering and quotes.
"You need two people to run a restaurant to make sure everything runs smoothly," said Al.
"Everything is homemade," said Sylvia. "I wouldn't serve anything that I wouldn't eat myself!"
The catering menu features popular items like stew, bannock, wild rice and lasagna. Both the catered foods and in-restaurant foods are cooked in high-end canola oil, which contains unsaturated fats – the good kind.
Not only does Elsie Bear's Kitchen serve up great food, it serves great entertainment too. For the past four years, Elsie Bear's Kitchen has attracted professional musicians and provided a free night out for a lot of people with Big Al's Jam Night.
The jam takes place every Wednesday night in Elsie Bear's Kitchen. The evening goes from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and features Metis artists like Gurney Anderson and Big Al himself, Al Desjarlais.
Add a dash of homemade taste, go heavy on the cleanliness and add a pinch of local entertainment – Sylvia and Al have earned bragging rights that their Metis-owned business is 100 per cent first-class.
Last Updated (Friday, 17 February 2012 11:44)