TOWN HILL — Lindsay Chaloux founded the Mount Desert Island Girl Pasta Company with a goal for families to enjoy her ready-to-boil meals whenever.
Chaloux, who has been in the food industry most of her life, attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., where she received a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts management in 2012. She has since continued to grow her skills, even making several trips to Italy, where she learned how to make pasta. She became inspired to sell her ready-to-boil pasta in May of 2019, and never looked back. Over the last four years, her operation has evolved into a business called MDI Girl Pasta Company.
Every season, her company’s stand can be found at the Eden Farmer’s Market and Northeast Harbor Farmers Market where shoppers can choose from a variety of pasta to take home.
The pasta chef uses unique, locally sourced ingredients when she can to make pasta flavors such as mint pistachio ravioli, lemon and basil fettuccine, three-cheese ravioli and roasted red pepper fettuccine. Some of her pastas are gluten-free.
Chaloux said her pasta, made with an egg base from scratch in her commercial kitchen, needs to be packaged and frozen almost immediately to stay fresh, as it contains no preservatives.
“It’s difficult to get egg-based pasta to be shelf stable, so it has to be frozen,” she said.
Her pasta, which can last a few months if it remains stored in the freezer, takes less than four minutes to boil, which makes it convenient for all pasta lovers to enjoy. Farmers market customers purchase her uncooked pasta, which she also sells online. “We keep it in the freezer to be safe because the harsh, warm summer weather can mess up the temperature,” Chaloux said.
“Most people, even chefs, don’t enjoy making pasta, that’s kind of how I fell into it,” Chaloux said. “I’m the person that likes doing it, where others don’t like the process so much. It’s quite a workout.”
Besides the standard eggs, with a little salt, olive oil and semolina flour, there is no secret, she said, to making her sought-after pasta, but it does require a fair amount of strength. These ingredients have to be kneaded into dough and worked through machines. “Pasta develops much better when you work your muscles, but I have some mechanical help to help me get the dough together,” she said.
MDI Girl Pasta Company recently participated in the Mount Desert 365 Business Boot Camp, where Chaloux received advice from mentors to improve her business.
This year, Chaloux will be selling her pasta wholesale at the Blue Hill Co-op and the Nor’Easter Pound and Market.
Local restaurants can now purchase her pasta to feature on their menus. “I’ve definitely opened my availability up quite a bit this year,” she said.
“There are big moves to be had in the next year or two. We’re hoping to expand even more. We will be utilizing the space we have and seeing if it’s warranted to grow more,” Chaloux said. Eventually she would like a shop to sell her product from, but for now she enjoys making pasta at her commercial kitchen space in Hulls Cove.
MDI Girl Pasta Company can be found online at www.mdigirlpasta.com and on its Facebook page, Mount Desert Island Girl Pasta Co.