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In the Kitchen with Jenni Lessard: Chef brings traditional Saskatchewan flavour to new pork recipes

By Lynn Redl-Huntington

Chef Jenni Lessard is a familiar face to many food lovers across Saskatchewan. The award-winning chef and former restaurant owner is a judge on Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters and was been named one of Canada’s Next Top 10 Chefs by the Globe and Mail.

Closer to home, this rising star has recently turned her attention, and love of local foods, to developing a series of new pork recipes for Sask Pork and its consumer arm, PickPork Saskatchewan. Lessard has just released six new pork recipes that can be found on Sask Pork’s website and social media channels.

“Pork can be used in comfort food meals, the fanciest of dinners or a casual picnic. It’s economical, easy to find and not finicky to cook with,” explained Lessard, whose introduction to eating local came from her upbringing near a lake in northern Saskatchewan, a few kilometres away from La Ronge. She spent her time cooking and baking using foraged ingredients from the forest around her family home, dreaming of owning her own restaurant some day.

“I’m a child of the 70’s so one of the dishes in my mom’s weekday repertoire was the classic pork chops smothered with canned mushroom soup. She must have done something a little extra, though, because when I came in from outside at supper time, the house smelled so delicious and comforting. She served it with brown rice and steamed carrots, and I still crave that meal,” enthused Lessard, who’s first food business was a hamburger stand called Flight Delight at the La Ronge Airport with two friends at the age of 14. She’s been cooking commercially ever since then.

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