By Alexandra Forbes
I've written enough about chef Martin Picard on this blog and elsewhere for it to be pretty obvious, by now, that a) yes, I think the guy is damn good at what he does and b) both his Montreal restaurant Au Pied de Cochon and his cabane à sucre (sugar shack) outside of town are both experiences not to be missed by any tourist who cares about good food, provided they call far enough in advance to score a rezy.
But the reason I'm writing about him yet again is to tell you about Picard's latest project: a book about the sugar shack which, at this very same time last year, he spoke about with uncontained enthusiasm. It'll be out March 2, and in true Picard style, the launch will be celebrated with a bash at the said 'shack' (rustic pop-up restaurant would be a more apt description...).
The book promises to be much more than a mere compilation of recipes. To Picard, the gastronomic worth of the Quebec sugar shack tradition has long been unfairly ignored, even by Quebecers themselves.
He aims to set the record straight by showing that the typical flavours associated with the quintessential springtime maple-laden banquet can be reinterpretated in a finer, more precisely-cooked guise. And he's got the thorough research, both historical and culinary, to back it up.
You don't have to be a genius to know that this one will fly off the shelves - every young American chef seems to admire Picard and his fearless nose-to-tail cooking, starting with TV-celeb Anthony Bourdain, perhaps the biggest Picard fan of all. Not to mention Quebecers, of course, who pack his two restaurants unrelentingly.
The timing on this is perfect: the book will be out right when the sugar shack reopens for business (though it's already booked solid through the end of the sugaring off season), and a mere two months after the chef's cabane was featured prominently in Bon Appétit magazine in the U.S:
|Image credit: Bon Appétit|
Yep... that's right: yet another magazine going gaga for the chef. The huge feature on the impossible-to-book-a-table-at Sugar Shack, with an online slideshow of photos and recipes galore, here's the link:
MORE MARTIN PICARD ON THIS BLOG: