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David Mottershall on What Went Into His New Pop-Up Loka Snacks

David Mottershall.
David Mottershall.
Photo: Jason Finestone

Back in January Eater did an interview with David Mottershall. The locavore chef "made history" on the East Coast through sustainable snout-to-tail dining at his Charlottetown, PEI restaurant Terre Rouge. He was coming to Toronto. This was big news.

Unemployed at the time, the 2012 PEI Chef of the Year winner was anxious to absorb all that Hogtown had to offer. Since then, the man who roasted whole animals and cured his own charcuterie before The Black Hoof was cool, settled into a job as chef de cuisine at The Chase… for a little while. Too many cooks in the kitchen— he left his 35 fellow knife handlers behind. He needed to craft his own culinary destiny. He wanted to return to his roots.

"I was talking someone off the ledge every night of the week," Mottershall laments. "I was done trying to convince someone else why they should continue in this business. It's like, I'm here doing what I love. Are you?"

Make no mistake, Mottershall is not a soulless Scrooge of a man. In fact, he's as emphatic and genuine as they come. Sporting a Blunt Roll apron and Bespoke Craft Butchers hat, his allegiance to locality is not solely evident in his wardrobe. The man is not built for the corporate kitchen, whose product demands can't keep up with the season and where his only contact with purveyors is through an order sheet.

[Photo: Jason Finestone]

In two weeks time, with the help of partner Ayngelina Brogan, they've set up a rotating pop-up shop at Hi-Lo Bar in Leslieville called Loka Snacks. He's a one-man show in the kitchen. He gets his sourdough from the non-profit St. John's Bakery down the street. He sources Heritage Pigs from Perth County Pork. He procures extra-old cheddar from Alliston, Ontario— only because Leslieville Cheese Market was out of local options.

Mottershall's goal is to channel a farm-to-fork focus into a 20-seat space somewhere in the neighborhood. Somewhere where five staff is all that's needed. He wants to be humble. He wants to be honest. He wants people to know where their food is coming from, if not from his own tatted up hands.

Loka Snacks's next installments at Hi-Lo will take place on Saturdays September 20 and 27. Stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter to find out where you can get your fill of Mottershall's famed flavours.
—Jason Finestone
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