DesBrisay Dines

DesBrisay Dines: The Cauldron Deli

I used to have a big kitchen. It had a big number of kids in it most days. Four of mine and – because our home was within spitting distance of their high school – a number of hungry tag-alongs come lunch-time.

In that big kitchen I did a lot of stuff I don’t do anymore. I canned things. I made pickles, jams, and jellies. I baked forty tourtieres for Christmas presents one year. I trayed a million cookies.

But that big kitchen belongs to someone else now. After my boys launched (sort of), along with their hungry tag-alongs, it was time to downsize. The kitchen I now have in my new, shrunken home is an efficient galley, with a fridge only big enough for restaurant leftovers and counter space at a precious premium.

Which brings me to The Cauldron Kitchen, a kitchen for rent in a business park on Lola Street, open since January. It is the brainchild of Dave Neil of The Piggy Market in Westboro and his business partner, engineer David Villarroel. Its purpose is to offer commercial kitchen space to those who might want to make, say, 40 tourtières for Christmas presents this year. Or make jams or fudge or cupcakes to sell at places like The Piggy Market. Or prep for the farmers’ markets, for a food truck business, or for catering large parties.

Neil also runs a food school in the space. The culinary classes are designed to improve kitchen skills and to “foster healthy eating at home.” You can read more about how the kitchen works in Sarah Brown’s article.

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Dave Neil of The Piggy Market

I was there, recently, for lunch at The Cauldron Deli.

During the week (Monday to Friday, from 11:30 to 2 pm), the kitchen provides a brown bag lunch you can either take away or eat perched in the tiny café at the front. Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, the kitchen makes sandwiches on the excellent baked bread and quality, roasted meats from The Piggy Market. The Porchetta with cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickles, and Dijon was perfect. It came with a salad plumped with apples, sultanas, and pecans. Dessert du jour was a splendid butter tart, baked by Bonny Riedel of Savoury Pursuits Fine Food, which rents the back space of The Cauldron Kitchen to prep the tarts, pies, quiche, and pastries that fill its booth at The Ottawa Farmers’ Market.

My sandwich/salad/butter tart lunch cost $12.

On Tuesdays, Lisana Catering prepares lunches. If you come on Wednesdays, the “special guest” is Tandoori Fusion, a Pakistani-Indian catering company dishing up its fragrant curries, flaky samosa, and Indian breads.

For now, Neil encourages us to ignore the online pre-ordering information on The Cauldron Deli’s site and just “come on by for lunch.” (The team’s in the process of updating its webpage.)

The Cauldron Deli, 1155 Lola Street, 613-796-7277