Two friends who have opened a new business are hoping to put Timmins on the vegan map.
Rocsi Carr and Danielle Moreau recently opened Northern Lights Fauxmagerie in Downtown Timmins. It offers a wide selection of plant-based meals and snacks, all made fresh on the premises.
Moreau has lived in Timmins for 22 years and has restaurant experience from Lanny’s Chili Hut, in Gillies Lake Park. Carr, who trained and worked as a chef, moved to Timmins from Toronto in January 2018.
As fate would have it, Carr moved in next door to Moreau.
“We became friends when she moved next door to me,” Moreau said.
“I really didn’t know anyone here at all,” Car added.
The two got to talking and came up with a business idea.
“Rocsi is vegan. Going out to lunch or dinner with her was extremely difficult,” Moreau said. “So we decided we open our own place where people could actually come in and enjoy plant-based food without having to worry about cross contamination (with meat and dairy products).”
Carr took a course in making plant-based cheese and also learned to make plant-based meat.
“Through my school, I made cheese from all different countries. I did a total of 22 cheeses, one after another,” she explained. “I jumped into cultured cheeses, and I did that at home.
“The original idea for the shop was to bring (plant-based) meats in. Then I was offered a meat course, so we started to do that. It is very easy to make the meats and it is flavour intensive. As far as ingredients, for say the traditional way of how to make sausages, it’s much less of a process and it is also cruelty free.”
Fresher food means healthier food for customers.
“Making it ourselves is so much better because we don’t have to put all the fillers and ingredients to make it last longer,” Moreau said. “We make it fresh and have so many days to eat it, no preservatives.”
“Beyond Meat products come from the United States,” Carr noted. “That’s a long way to travel for plant-based meat. And there is a need here for it here.
“We’ve been out engaging in the community for months, talking with every single person who would engage with us. We learned that stomach ailments are the number one (concern) here. It’s the biggest disharmony for people.”
The two friends have been busy developing the dishes for the restaurant.
“We came up with different ideas and recipes. Some are recipes we’ve learned, played with and creating into our own recipes,” Carr said. “Such as our process for making cashew curd, we came up with our own recipe for that. It’s a really amazing curd.”
The final product will be helpful for those with digestive issues.
“It’s really crazy how you can take something as a nut, which is still a living food, and turn it into something else alive,” she said. “The cashew cheeses when they come out will have probiotics and prebiotics.”
The menu offers different dishes every day, with offerings like flavourful shepherd’s pie and lasagna.
“People that have tried it (shepherd’s pie) have enjoyed it very much,” Moreau said. “Another that is popular is our burgers, our sausage on a bun, and our no-pork pulled pork burgers or wraps. They are extremely popular, we go through a lot and they’re easy to make.”
“We got swamped today,” Carr said, looking a little tired, but happy after the daily lunch rush. “We had a little bit of a waiting time, but we provided them with cheese boards, things like that because we do believe in taking care of our clients. We are also going to be bringing in a couple of employees because we definitely need that.
“We’re a mom and mom shop, so we’re going to take care of you here.”
While the duo hopes their restaurant becomes a hot spot in Timmins, they also have loftier goals in mind.
“Our intention is to start with this shop in Timmins to help us develop cheeses to be manufactured in Timmins,” Carr said. “Then we’re going to put it out with the Timmins stamp to be sold across Ontario. In return for allowing us to serve you and help create these products, we will be bringing in work for Timmins.
“And hopefully anyone who visits here who is plant based or wants to be, or even move here, will know there are these options here and options where you don’t have to worry about cross contamination. We’re in it for the long term.”
They are always looking for new ideas to further expand their menu options.
“We are going to go to the Veg Fest in Toronto in September,” Carr said. “In Toronto, every single thing you can imagine that isn’t plant based actually is. So it is pretty cool.”
“We’re hoping to introduce something new every week,” Moreau said. “We welcome any ideas and input that the public has.”
Northern Lights Fauxmagerie is located at 89 Cedar St. S., right next to the Victory Tavern. It is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday.