Maison Melda is the creative culmination of Catherine Kammer-Mayer’s journey from artist and social developer to community advocate and restaurateur.
It all began with a chance meeting that led Catherine to the building that would eventually become Maison Melda: fellow Saint-Pierre-de-Wakefield resident, Martine Whalen, introduced Catherine to a homeowner named Laurie De Rainville, the granddaughter of Imelda and Lucien Mathé, who built the home in the 1940s.
Back in the day, “Melda” ran a store out of this particular house and she was known for warmly welcoming locals from around the area. Hearing this story sparked Catherine’s entrepreneurial spirit and in June 2019 she purchased the building. After six months of renovations, her new micro-bistro opened its doors to the community. In the beginning, it was just Catherine and her mother, Gyslaine Dumont, who had managed numerous businesses including a bed and breakfast in Gatineau. Luckily, she also just happened to be a “foodie”!
By February 2020, Maison Melda was just getting off the ground with a 14-seat dining room and take-out gourmet service; chef Travis Labonté had just come on board and was joined by a cousin, Elisa, to create the desserts.
And then Covid-19 hit.
Maison Melda changed gears, shifting their focus from the dining room to “prêt-à-manger”, catering, and a small boutique, L’effet-vert-sens, which sells local artisanal products, run by Marie-Claude Lachaine. Currently, the team produces 160 meals each week and the word has spread throughout the community that Maison Melda is the place to go for special, nourishing meals.
Chef Labonté is the “Maestro” of the kitchen; his team creates a tantalizing array of fine cuisine that varies week-to-week in harmony with seasonal availability and the creativity of the chefs.
There are plans for a boutique expansion, with a possible pâtisserie on the second level, and the team is always seeking ways to bolster support for local artisans and their products.
Catherine was already familiar with the SADC prior to Covid-19 due to her involvement in social development. Traditional banking institutions were unwilling to finance the purchase of the building to use as a rural restaurant. The SADC recognized the potential of Catherine’s enterprise and was instrumental in financing the property purchase. Like so many businesses in the time of Covid, Maison Melda pivoted but still needed assistance, especially during the lockdown periods. SADC was there for them, making it possible to persevere and even expand into new areas of enterprise.
Visit Maison Melda: 754 Rue Principale, Val-des-Monts, QC J8N 0H5