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Everything you ever wanted to know about Salamanders but were afraid to ask
March 30, 2017
We love kids...
One of the great joys of the Salamanders team is the kids...We think that it’s the quiet atmosphere of our home away from home that has kids enjoying our surroundings. We have no televisions and our music is soft, so folks are able to enjoy quiet conversation that includes the young ‘uns. Ok, so once and a while a wee one will act out but most of the time, we are blessed with children who sit and enjoy our food along with their parents and grandparents. It’s not that we believe that “well-behaved” kids should act like smaller adults: frankly, folks, we have had more adults acting out than their younger counterparts. No, it’s just that the children who visit us seem to know that Salamanders is a special place where people respect them and care about them.
And then, there are the babies...It’s absolutely wonderful when parents who have been visiting us eventually show up with their tiny newborn son or daughter. More often than not, the baby gets whisked off by Liane or Beth for a staff show and tell. Then, as we have watched many of them grow up, they graduate from their car seats to our high chairs and eventually to normal seating. First the babies start with their formula warmed up in Salamanders’ kitchen, then eventually go through a heck of a lot of orders of hot dogs and chicken fingers. Eventually, they start having junior orders of our menu and, we hope, developing their taste buds for our Cajun and Low-Country cooking. Children are our guests of tomorrow...
Another terrific experience for Salamanders staff is when several generations of a family come in to enjoy each others’ company. So, we get from the Grandma and Grandpa, through the parents right down to the kids in various stages of growth. We have even had four generations for truly special events, where the little ones are the great grand-children of the family elders. So, bring unto us the little children...Please...And thank you. We are Salamanders of Kemptville and we love kids.
March 2, 2017
Salamanders: What’s in a Name?
Ahem, now hear this: Wikipedia says that “Salamanders are a group of amphibians typically characterized by a lizard-like appearance, with slender bodies, blunt snouts, short limbs projecting at right angles to the body, and the presence of a tail in both larvae and adults. All present-day Salamander families are grouped together under the scientific name Urodela” (gesundheit!). “Salamander diversity is most abundant in the Northern Hemisphere and most species are found in the Holarctic ecozone, with some species present in the Neotropical zone.”
Well ok, so much for that.
Meanwhile, if you like watching cooking shows on the tube, especially those that are set in restaurants, you may have people say that they are placing food in a Salamander. Suffice to say, they are not stuffing an amphibian with mushrooms or onions. What you may see are plates or other dishes being placed into an open oven-like appliance (it looks a lot like a largish toaster oven). So, a Salamander in a restaurant is a nickname for a self-contained broiler unit that is used to finish or brown dishes.
All right, so far?
So, why the dickens did we call our restaurant Salamanders of Kemptville? On the one hand, we have a profusion of Salamanders depicted all over the place; on the other hand, we have a kitchen Salamander for browning up our great food. Let’s be very clear that the amphibian Salamander is not on our menu. However, our food may end up being finished up in our kitchen’s Salamander.
Confused? No need. For us, the Salamanders theme is just good fun and a way to enjoy decorating our restaurant. So, if you are on the road and you see a particularly fine depiction of one, please pick it up and bring it on in. Some of our great guests have already joined the “Find a Salamanders” Club and brought in particularly fine examples that now adorn our walls.
February 23, 2017
What’s a MURT?
We at Salamanders of Kemptville take great pride in the cleanliness and decor of our site. But do you realize the kind of effort goes into ensuring that we are always putting our best foot forward? This effort is due to the hard work of our MURT, that is, our Maintenance, Upkeep and Refit Team.
Let’s start with the mission of our Team, which is posted in our servery:
“The mission of the Salamanders Maintenance, Upkeep and Refit Team is to exceed regulatory compliance in ensuring cleanliness, hygiene, order and safety in all operations:
* For maintenance, to maintain our equipment to the maximum efficiency possible;
* For upkeep, to provide a high level of husbandry and an engaging decor for the greater comfort and security of our guests;
* For refit; to perform major and minor refit projects that enhance the overall effectiveness, safety and appeal of our restaurant.”
So, how do we live up to this high standard?
1. The Team is on site cleaning and tidying up every Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
2. We follow a weekly Maintenance, Upkeep and Refit Checklist that is posted in our servery every Tuesday morning.
3. We steam clean the floors, rather than mop them twice weekly.
4. We have a composting program by which all compostable material is taken to our farm where it becomes beautiful planting soil in a matter of three months (winter and summer).
5. Of course, all that can be recycled, is.
6. Our used cooking oil is sent for transformation into bio-fuel.
7. Anything left that is non-compostable or non-recyclable gets bagged for removal to waste management sites.
We are blessed with a great team: Paul, the patriarch of the family, acts as Lead; Steve and Ayden ably manage infrastructure requirements and Emma is in charge of decor. The very talented Emma is doing a particularly fine job of varying our decor according to the season. It is quite a sight to see the full team in operation on any given Saturday morning with everyone scurrying around as if we were getting ready for Act 1 of a very special play. When it is opening time, you will find us having a well-deserved lunch together.
Springtime is coming to Downtown Kemptville. The Salamanders patio will once again abound with gorgeous floral arrangements complementing our wrought iron summer furniture. And once again, the Maintenance, Upkeep and Refit Team will ensure that you lunch and dine in beautiful surroundings that match with the quality of our great food.
December 1, 2016
The 5 C's
Salamanders of Kemptville prides itself in its 5C cooking: Cajun, Creole and Low Country Cooking with a Canadian Twist. This results from our family’s history and travels over the years.
First of all, our Cormier name and family originated in Acadia, the 18th century French colony established just North of Halifax, Nova Scotia. So, Salamanders has a number of Acadian-inspired family dishes, which tend to be more French Canadian. Meanwhile, of course, the Acadians were expelled from Nova Scotia in 1755 and some 165 families ended up in the French colony of Louisiana. Over time, Acadians became Cajuns, with typical dishes from that region, involving a fair amount of fish and seafood and distinctive spices. It’s only a hop, skip and jump to include Creole dishes that also have their unique flavours, but are very French fusion.
Finally, our family has enjoyed many trips into the low County of the US. We particularly enjoy the food from South Carolina (e.g. the Hilton Head area), Georgia and Florida. These states have an excellent cuisine and we are happy to interpret them to Canadian taste buds. That’s the point, by the way: the culinary mission of the Salamanders kitchen team is to bring Cajun, Creole and Low County cooking to the colder climes of Canada and to the particular taste buds of Canadians. We hope you enjoy this fusion of flavours!
November 17, 2016
The flag over the entrance way to Salamanders of Kemptville is that of the Acadians. It was chosen in Miscouche, Prince Edward Island in 1884 during the second National Acadian Convention. It was proposed by Reverend Marcel-François Richard from Saint-Louis, New Brunswick, President of the 3rd Commission responsible for studying the choice of a national flag for the Acadian people.
Acadians are the original French settlers in the area located north of Halifax, Nova Scotia, - the Gaspereau Valley. In 1755, the British carried out the Great Expulsion, deported some 11,500 Acadians and dispersed them across North America. This gave rise to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem A Tale of Acadie, where he depicted the pain and suffering of the Acadians as they were being turned out of their homes and lands. Some Acadians migrated to present day Louisiana, where they developed what is now known as the Cajun culture (Cajun is the Louisiana pronunciation of Acadian). Later, many Acadians who had been dispersed returned to the Maritimes: but since they were barred from resettling in their lands and villages (such as Grand Pré) in the land that became known as Nova Scotia, many settled in New Brunswick in the Memramcook area.
We at Salamanders are proud of our Acadian-Cajun ancestry and hope you will enjoy our family-inspired meals while a guest in our restaurant.