Etienne Croteau told Cabin Radio creating Flavour Trader at the Museum is "a fantasy for a chef" as he prepared for the new restaurant's opening day.
At 10:30am on Monday, the former Museum Café reopens as Flavour Trader at the Museum for coffee and snacks.
Lunch is served from 11:30am, offering a range of six main courses and the possibility of a four-course meal if you indulge in the soup, salad, and dessert options – which include blueberry cardamom panna cotta and maple cake.
Croteau says one of the new restaurant's finest main courses is a vegetarian signature dish by chef Calvin Rossouw.
"It's a squash roasted with apple jam, with cinnamon from Sri Lanka, and we have pecan candy on the top of it," said Croteau.
"It's delicious. Honestly, I tried it and said I would like to be vegetarian."
You can also try Flavour Trader's own pie, which includes lamb, beef, scalloped potatoes, caramelized red onions, and maple.
"We use a lot of Canadian produce," said Croteau. "We try to use northern ingredients. Sometimes it's hard to get, but we're getting there."
'We can explore'
Aside from nailing down an opening date, Croteau said – in keeping with many other Yellowknife establishments – finding servers has been the biggest challenge.
The original Flavour Trader premises in downtown Yellowknife will remain open alongside the new venture at the museum, though the downtown store will close temporarily on Monday and Tuesday while the museum operation gets up and running.
"This a fantasy for a chef. Everything is possible," said Croteau just hours before Flavour Trader at the Museum opened its doors. "We have a full menu, we can explore so many things. This is the fun part.
"What makes me feel really confident is the team we have in the kitchen. They are super-hard workers, trained too, and they run the kitchen perfectly."
But don't expect many, if any, more Flavour Traders after this one. Croteau denied having any ambition to turn the brand into a chain.
"It's a lot of work," he said, with a smile. "I'm happy."