Salume Rume to bring cured meats to PEI, one plate at a time

Chef Dave Mottershall’s cooking career has brought him to the mountains of Banff, Alberta, to butcher shops of Italy, and to the trendy Queen West neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario but it’s PEI that called him back.

“I came to PEI 10 years ago, maybe 12 years ago, to cook seafood,” Mottershall said. Over the five years that followed, Mottershall travelled around the Island, meeting farmers and producers, and working at a number of Island restaurants, including the now-defunct Dayboat and Lot 30, as well as Top of the Park at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino.

In 2012, he opened Terre Rouge with chef John Pritchard, but after about a year in business Mottershall says a dip in the economy and differences of opinion on the restaurant’s future saw him looking westward, to Toronto. “I was just going to leave for six months,” Mottershall said. He ended up staying longer.

Mottershall launched Loka Snacks, a pop-up snack bar that eventually became Loka the restaurant. Both were met with great reviews, but the restaurant industry is fickle and Mottershall said Toronto takes it to another level. “It’s so cutthroat and renegade. You’re here today, gone tomorrow. I couldn’t believe it when we made the six months.” They made it past the six months, running for two and half years.

Loka’s menu was heavily focused on a cured meat program, with Mottershall’s emphasis on whole animal butchery with a zero waste policy (all the animal is used, not just the usual parts). Despite many accolades, high rent costs and tight margins proved too much and Loka closed on Valentine’s Day in 2018.

Mottershall made the announcement on Instagram. “I literally posted it up and was like this is the saddest day I’ve ever had. I have to post that my restaurant is for sale,” Mottershall said.

In less than a minute, he received a little Island support. “Michael Smith called me like 30 seconds after. He was like, ‘Are you okay?’” By the spring, Mottershall was back on PEI. He spent last summer working as the butcher at Smith’s FireWorks at The Inn at Bay Fortune. That’s where he met David McGuire, owner of the soon-to-be Bogside Brewery.

“I met David at Forage [an annual food industry symposium] and he was like, ‘Hey, I heard you’re trying to open a little salami shop. Well, I’m opening up a massive brewery. Come see what I have.”

That meeting proved fortuitous and Mottershall is now renting a space attached to Bogside Brewery to cure meats for his Salume Rume venture. “It’s going to be whole muscle—whole muscle salamis and ground salamis, basically coppas, prosciutto, lonza and pancetta.” He said he’ll also have different salami mixes, a house chorizo and saucisson sec, a French-style dry-cured sausage.

Salume Rume products will be available for purchase in the brewery’s retail space. “It’ll be in the retail display fridge, so where you buy your beers, you can buy salamis at the same time—or you can order a charcuterie board in the restaurant.”

That charcuterie board will also have the Mottershall touch as he will be overseeing the brewery’s food, which he described as a “barbecue focus with tons of seafood and veg.”

“You can order barbecue by the pound, so there’s brisket, ribs and pulled pork—and we’re going to do fried chicken…The rest of it will basically be vegetable focused, like a rad brussel sprout dish that I’m bringing him back from Loka in Toronto.”

As for Salume Rume (pronounced Saloom Room), he hopes to take it beyond PEI. “Long-term plans would be to sell across Canada within the next five years.” He recently took part in the Food Xcel program, where food entrepreneurs vied for a $25,000 award. He didn’t win the prize, but Mottershall said the response was positive, both at the event and online. “The response from everyone about it was overwhelming,” Mottershall said. “From the Islanders and restaurants here, and other people across the country. People from Vancouver, Montreal are already like, ‘can I buy your product?’”

Mottershall says that selling his products off Island is about two years out. In the meantime, Islanders and visitors should be able to enjoy them this summer.