She opened the door and walked into 218 University Ave. and there were scattered boxes and other random items all over the place. She’d been in the place earlier, but in the company of her landlord.
She didn’t know what half the stuff was, what she’d have to throw out or what colour she’s going to paint the place, she said.
“I had to stand here and take it all in first.”
Forrester Wendt, 38, was starting her first day cleaning and organizing the space for her new vegan restaurant coming to Charlottetown. She’s calling it My Plum, My Duck and hopes to be open in May.
She got the name from a term of endearment used by her father towards her mother, Forrester Wendt said.
“It’s funny when you’re coming up with a restaurant name you powwow for hours about stuff, but that name was always first on my mind. And it’s because ever since I can remember, my Dad getting home from work and said “Hello my plum, my duck” and give her mom a little squeeze.
“He still uses that and for me it’s a cozy feeling and reminds me of home and of my mom’s good cooking.”
For the last four years, Forrester Wendt had been the executive chef at the Inn at St. Peters and has been cooking for more than 20 years.
Before her time at the Inn she did catering, had a farmer’s market booth and taught cooking classes. She never went to culinary school, but really learned to cook in Mexico and Italy, she said.
“It was a hands on experience.”
And now Forrester Wendt wants to go it alone, but with help from her family, she said.
“I felt like providing my kids a summer job and work for myself. It’s all come together to be wanting to have my own place.”
Vegan food is something she grew up with, loves and is good at cooking. She considers it to be her normal everyday eating and wouldn’t necessarily call it vegan, it just falls under the vegan category, she said.
“I think it’s a niche in Charlottetown. There’s way more vegetarians and vegans out there and not a lot available.”
Forrester Wendt said she started to raise funds on KickStarter.com when the banks won’t give you a loan to start a restaurant. So far, she’s raised over $11,000. She got the idea from a good friend of hers who opened Scapes in Borden, she said.
“She used it to raise funds for her restaurant and it was very successful. So I decided to try it myself.”
The menu will be 90 per cent vegan, but Forrester Wendt will feature one organic land plate and one wild sea plate for the meat-eaters out there. The restaurant has a 30-person capacity and will be open all year round.
Forrester Wendt has put the word out for staff, but she has not hired anyone as of yet, she said.
“I’m looking for a good cook who’s interested in vegan food or willing to learn and a smart, friendly front of the house person.”