Michele Walker is the owner of Crêperie du Lys, Corvallis’ first year-round food cart. She and her fiancé, François, run the cart together. The two attended high school here in Corvallis, but it wasn’t until years later that they met again and fell in love. They will be married this fall in France. Michele was born in Portland and grew up in Corvallis, where she went to CHS. She studied journalism and advertising at LBCC, and lived in Eugene for ten years. She has a twenty-three year old son who served in the Marines, and a sixteen year old son who works in the food cart and is an amazing musician.
The Crepe Cart, is it is known casually, has a lot of choices! They offer dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian options, which I discovered one recent summer-like morning. I was pleasantly surprised at the high quality and well-balanced flavors that their relatively small space can dish out. My children enjoyed it as well, which says quite a lot! I had the gluten-free vegetarian crepe, which had onions, chard, and feta among other delicious goodies gathered from around the market just that morning. I enjoy my life as an omnivore, but the vegetarian crepe was so good I hardly missed animal protein. And I can say, after being gluten-free (GF) for almost three years that it’s one of the best GF things I have ever eaten.
I had a chance to ask Michele some questions
about herself and her business,
and here is what she had to say ~
Q. What’s your favorite thing about owning your own business?
A. Knowing customers by name (or crepe) and seeing their children grow up eating our food. We will be part of their memories! I enjoy making our own decisions and having the ability to hear directly from the customer what made them satisfied (and what didn’t), and independence above all!
Q. Where else besides Saturday Market can people find your food cart?
A. We will be at da Vinci Days this summer, otherwise events come up. Its best to ‘like’ us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up with events!
Q. What types of crepes do you offer?
A. We have both sweet and savory crepes. Our catch phrase is ‘Mediterranean influenced, Northwest inspired.’ Our Greek crepe is the most popular savory choice and fresh strawberries the most popular sweet. My fiancé is from the south of France and as the chef for Crêperie du Lys, he is influenced by his home. We strive to be local and organic as much as possible, because the Willamette Valley is a mecca for fresh ingredients.
Q. Tell me more about your gluten free crepes.
A. When we started offering GF we 1st met with Nadine (The Gluten-Free RN) to ask advice. We have a completely separate grill and utensils for the gluten free batter, which is mixed first and stored away during the mixing of the other batters. When a GF crepe is ordered I write the ticket with a color coded pen so there is no confusion on the line. It is important to note that we are in a small space and never claim to be 100% gluten free. However, we do make the best effort to avoid any cross contamination.
During my interview with Michele, I gleaned a lot of information about how she does business, and I must say I am impressed. Crêperie du Lys sources compostable service-ware from right here in Corvallis (EcNow Tech & The Earth Smart Store) as a part of Crêperie du Lys commitment to avoid having a negative impact on our environment. They also participate in fund-raisers in order to feel connected to their community. They also make every effort possible to source locally, and essentially follow the ‘Local 6’ philosophy. Their eggs and produce are either from Farmer’s Market, gathered that same morning, or Midway Farms. The flour they use is either Bob’s Red Mill or Sans Gluten, S’il Vous Plait (available at First Alternative Co-op, and made right here in Corvallis!).
In addition, Michele spent a year changing an ordinance that restricted mobile food vending in Corvallis. She strongly feels that food carts offer an option to lower income entrepreneurs and should be considered as one way to help people move away from being dependent on assistance such as food stamps to being able to provide for themselves and their families. Michele believes that many lower-income people, and women especially, just need a chance to be more independent in life, and that access to low interest loans or grants could be a part of that.
If all this doesn’t make you want to meet Michele and try a crepe, I don’t know what will! To find Crêperie du Lys’ wonderful food, check them out at the Farmer’s Market every week through the market season. They can also be found around town at various days and times. A schedule of where they will be is located on their website, creperiedulys.com, or you may follow them on Twitter or Facebook.