Nov 28, 2011

Joe Beef book: an interview with Fred Morin and David McMillan

by Alexandra Forbes

I think it's safe to say I've written enough about the Joe Beef book. 

I loved it. 

Bought five of the damn things on Amazon to give away as X-mas gifts. 

Wrote a perhaps too-honest "review" of it, in this very blog (click here to read). So enough is enough. Just wanted to share, here, the little video interview I did with "the boys".

Elyse Lambert, Aurélia Filion, Marie Josée Beaudouin: Montreal's top sommelières

Montreal sommelière Jessica Harnois
by Alexandra Forbes

The quotient of beautiful women in Montreal seems even higher than in my native Brazil. Especially during these warm months, the beauties are everywhere in Montreal: sipping beer on terrasses, biking, walking their dogs and, of course, waitressing at restaurants. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that some of the most qualified sommelières (female sommeliers), aka wine experts, in town also happen to be attractive women.

Elyse Lambert

Dispensing wine advice at restaurants is a job usually associated with men, so it’s great to see that Montreal bucks the trend. And with honours: Elyse Lambert (pictured above) for example, was voted best sommelière in the Americas in 2009 and travels often to the wine-producing regions of the world. While she’s become a bit of a celebrity in Montreal, her tips are part of the package when you have dinner at the super trendy Le Local, where she works. Elyse appears on a local TV show, tasting and dissecting wines in French – but she’s not the only sommelière who’s good on camera.

The beautiful Aurélia Filion of Le Club Chasse et Pêche restaurant (one of my favourites) – has created quite a buzz with the snappy videos she posts on her blog. She films herself talking about wine, in a room with bottles in the background. The result could have been massively boring, but she actually draws in the viewer with her unaffected enthusiasm and charisma.

Aurélia Filion

Equally blonde and mignonne, sommelière Marie-Josée Beaudoin co-owns Montréal’s hottest new restaurant, Les 400 Coups and also finds time to blog.

Her wine list is filled with surprising finds and her pairings can be refreshingly atypical. One hit currently on the menu is the glass of Jurançon (Château Jolys 2008) that is proposed with the impossibly delicious dessert called “Green” (apple granité, pistachios, olive oil, micro cilantro leaves, ultra-creamy white chocolate yogurt). Another bold choice is the local red wine sold by-the-glass (Chateau Taillefer Lafon 2006), made just north of Montreal in Laval. While not always a crowd-pleaser, it’s quite a curious discovery.

Etheliya Hananova

Working much further uptown than the three others, who are all in Old Montreal, Etheliya Hananova is one of the best things about the hip little restaurant Lawrence. She may draw stares from customers for her gorgeous looks, but gets her cred in the business from a solid formation and a shining personality. She’s on-hand almost every night to help regulars and newcomers alike navigate what food critic Lesley Chesterman of The Gazette calls “a great little wine list”.
Lawrence, 5201 St-Laurent, (514) 503-1070
Le Local, 720 William, (514) 397-7737
Les 400 Coups, 400 Notre-Dame East, (514) 985-0400
Le Club Châsse et Pêche, 423 St-Claude, (514) 861-1112

Les 400 Coups named one of Canada's best new restaurants by En Route magazine

by Alexandra Forbes

We saw this one coming. And quite a while back!

Les 400 Coups has just been named #4 in the annual En Route list of Canada's best new restaurants. And what's En Route? Well... it's an inflight magazine, but one that looks much better than your average inflight magazine. And not only that: in the relative Sahara that is Canada in terms of food coverage, En Route fills the gap by putting together this annual list and doing it the right way, by flying a food writer all over the country to try different restaurants. (Full disclosure: I've written for En Route, occasionally, for years).

So there you go: not only do we think Les 400 Coups rocks, but EnRoute agrees with us. Get bookin'!, tel. (514) 985-0400

Nov 24, 2011

Ferran Adrià in Montreal - Conference at ITHQ

Ferran Adrià in Montreal! Yes, it surprised many when the first news of this came out. But it happened. And I was one of the lucky few to attend his conference given by him to the students of the ITHQ and interview him afterwards. What a day that was. A November 22nd that I’ll remember because when you meet one of the great, you always get inspired, a part of you grows and changes a little as well.

The conference was in French, and I filmed it all to share with you. You can read my summary of the conference and watch the full conference as well as exclusive interview video at: À la saveur d’Andrea (in French).

Ferran Adrià was very generous and offered us not only a peak preview of what the elBulli Foundation will be, this new era of elBulli, committed fully to gastronomic creativity in an out-of-this-world environment, but also a peak into the last day of the mythic restaurant, a world premiere of the emotional moment shared by hundreds of chefs and sous-chefs (with most of the best chefs in the world!) that once worked at elBulli who reunited to celebrate with Ferran the end of an era.

His loudest message to the culinary students was: “You know nothing. If you think you know, you won’t be great. I know just a little. When I wake up in the morning, I tell myself I know nothing. That’s how you learn”.

Passion, freedom, sharing and taking risks, that's Ferran Adrià's philosophy. Being humble in greatness would also apply perfectly.

Want to know what eating at El Bulli was all about? Here is a video of two Montrealers who ate there recently...

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