The Alchemist

Thursday, May 12, 2022 10:08 PM

We first experienced the culinary magic of Leah Marshall Hannon a few years ago when Sand and Pearl restaurant opened here in PEC. I remember being floored the first time we ate there - she took seafood to an entirely new level for me and we were beyond thrilled when she opened her own place, Stella’s in Picton, much closer to home! She has since closed that location and settled into a much larger space in Waupoos – one of the prettiest corners of The County.


Leah’s style nods to her indigenous roots (the restaurant, now called Stella’s Eatery, is named after her paternal great-grandmother) and her menus change frequently based on the availability of local fresh, seasonal and foraged foods - her intention is to keep the ingredients simple. That said, the flavours are almost always astonishingly layered and complex and I am 100% convinced that she is an alchemist.


It’s hard to do justice when describing her food to others. I usually just default to saying that she either sprinkles some sort of magic dust or pours a secret sauce on all that she serves. I literally try to dissect every dish that we order to determine what special touch has been added as there is almost always a surprising flavourful twist. The presentation never fails to be beautiful, the service is fantastic and the atmosphere is most inviting and not pretentious in any way. The restaurant also boasts a gorgeous large patio for the summer months, and the space indoors is generous, I’ve never felt uncomfortable there during the pandemic.


I want to note that I used the photo of her from the gorgeous County Heirlooms cookbook as my main reference for her in this lllustration. In that book (it is FABULOUS cookbook penned by Natalie Wollenberg and Leigh Nash) she shares a recipe for pickerel cakes, so, it’s a bit of a look behind the curtain on one of her inspired creations.


One of my favourite sporting events here in PEC is to take a new group of friends there to observe the inevitable silence that falls on the table shortly after the food has been served – ha! I’m kind of not kidding!! She is just so inventive and her artistry is something that everyone should experience at least once :)


Stella’s Eatery is located at 2470 County Road 8 in Waupoos and they do take reservations.

You can (and should!) follow leah through Instagram and Facebook :)