Lindsey Kolesar grew up in Calahoo, about 20 minutes north of Stony Plain, on her family’s bison farm. That meant early mornings spent feeding animals before leaving for school and hot summer days spent in ﬁelds far from “any place that may have a Slurpee.” She’s “beyond grateful” to have spent that time alongside family developing her hard work ethic (she also bottle fed and raised Norman, her pet bison, after his mom rejected him), but she didn’t develop her artistic ﬂair for beautiful charcuterie work until recently.
“If you saw me draw something on a piece of paper, you’d say, ‘You’re not an artist,’” Kolesar admits. “But if you give me some meat and cheese, it’s totally different.” One side of her family is Métis-Cree, the other is Ukrainian, “so there was never a shortage of food — ever.” She always loved cooking, and even considered becoming a Red Seal chef, but “never took the plunge.” So she happily made charcuterie boards for family birthdays and small events. That’s when the visions started.
“I noticed when I was making these boards that I felt different. I would get visions, looking at this bare piece of wood, of what it would look like when I was done. Chasing that type of feeling has led me to where I am today,” running Board and Iron Charcuterie from her home, about a 20-minute drive west of Stony Plain. Things moved fast for the home-based food artisan — it barely took a year to go from registering her company to customers needing to book boards weeks in advance — but, for Kolesar, it feels like the culmination of many lifetimes.
“It was almost overnight, in a way, but I’m very in tune with my culture and my heritage, and I felt that this was a path that my ancestors laid for me. They’re the ones who did all the hard work. It was up to me to continue on, now having the resources to do the things they couldn’t do back then.”
The things she does today are quite simply beautiful (you can see the progression of her work on Instagram). As she practiced, the visions became clearer. And as she reached out to the local food community, including her uncle’s Kickin’ Ash Bison farm, she found new ways to experiment. “I went into a local ﬂower shop and found some beautiful greenery. Then I got into edible glitter and found that the sky was the limit to my artistic side.”
Her signature piece came when her daughter showed her a video on how to make a meat rose by layering the meat around the circumference of a wine glass, then ﬂipping it over. And she’s started teaching others in her charcuterie classes — just one of the ways she keeps her ancestors’ spirits alive. “I’m on this journey of healing, not only for myself, but for the seven generations behind me, and for the seven generations in front of me.”
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This article appears in the April 2022 issue of Edify