Dessert Can Be Locally Sourced Too
By Chef Laurie Mohlman of the Local Lounge
As it says on their Facebook page, “The Local Lounge is all about Eau Claire.” It was built by local businesses, and it serves local food and drinks. Located where the Sea Horse Inn used to be, the place has been completely remodeled with a restaurant, bar, and outdoor space. It opened this summer. While we often hear of main dishes and meals using locally sourced products, we don’t tend to hear as much about desserts and bakery goods being made from local products. That is a perception Pastry Chef Laurie Mohlman hopes to change.
I always loved food. I initially went to school at UWEC at got my bachelor’s in business management. At the time I graduated, the economy wasn’t the greatest, and I wasn’t able to find a career I enjoyed. So I decided to pursue a hobby as a career. I went to The French Pastry School in Chicago. And I worked at a handful of places in the Chicago Suburbs and most recently the Grand Geneva.
The Local Lounge is completely centered on locally sourced items. Whether it is materials, contractors, food, and drinks, if it can be local, it will be local. It is a challenge, but an exciting one the team is ready to take on.
I recently moved back to the Chippewa Valley from the Chicago suburbs. One of my biggest concerns for moving back was the lack of food scene and where I could find work. I’ve been away for six years and am astonished by how much Eau Claire has changed. My personal goal is to bring amazing desserts to the Chippewa Valley. I have seen how much the savory side of food has changed here, and I can’t wait to show everyone some delicious desserts. I want the Local Lounge to be known for its pastries and desserts.
To be honest, I feel like this event, the Eat Local Challenge, was made for me. I’ve only been back for a couple of months (since June), and I can say I am out of the loop when it comes to what local farms are here. Having the chance to learn about what is available and how we can attain it for use at home or where to get it out dining in the community is really exciting. I can really tell the difference in how the Valley wants to build a community, and this is a great way to bring everyone together.