Sunday, December 30, 2012

BEST OF 2012


This past year Montreal's food scene has seen it's share of triumphs and controversies with openings that went from heavily anticipated to much debated. We've seen a community band together and make leaps and bounds in the direction of hopefully ending an outdated moratorium on street food, and an increase in international recognition from filmed and printed food media. We've witnessed hard working restauranteurs, cooks, chefs and staff see their congratulations marginalized as they were caught in the crossfire of a heated dialogue that stirred up over the validity of a list aggregated by a certain national food writer with a suspicious personal agenda to omit some of our provinces biggest culinary ambassadors. As a city, we partook in our first official restaurant week and saw Montreal rise to become the true culinary destination native Montrealers always knew it has been. Perhaps most notably though, the magnificent bounty of our beautiful province has never before seen such a well deserved position in the pantries and minds of some of the worlds best chefs; to which much credit is due to an innovative homegrown distribution company Quebecers have a lot of reason to be proud of: Societe Orignal. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

PARK


Since it's opening this year, praise has been extraordinarily high for chef Antonio Park's new restaurant - Park. The way people talk about it, you'd think he's reinvented the wheel. On the heels of the notorious Au Pied de Cochon and Joe Beef omissions from Maclean's 50 Best Restaurants in Canada list we've heard people go as far as to boldly express disapproval over Park's omission from enRoute's coveted Canada's Best New Restaurants 2012 list. Recently, Park was named "Most Awe-Inspiring" in the Montreal Gazette's Top Restaurants of 2012 by fine dining critic Lesley Chesterman and chef Antonio Park was the second place winner in the Montreal leg of the annual, country-wide Gold Medal Plates cooking competition, which raises money for our national olympic team. We've read chef Park's Twitter feed as he shares positive feedback from fellow chefs, food writers, bloggers and celebrities who've endorsed his food, telling their legions of friends and followers that no trip to Montreal is complete without a visit to this little restaurant and sushi counter on Victoria just south of Sherbrooke. The hype machine appeared to be in full effect.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

G.E.B


Behind a thin vale, and the at times nauseating glamour of celebrity chefdom exists the reality of the restaurant business: tight profits and seemingly endless work hours. Pursuing a labor of love requires that chefs and restauranteurs continuously search for modest overhead and affordable rent so that they might hope to be properly compensated for their hard work and the sacrifices they've made in their personal lives for their trade. The meager margins in the food industry are inherently the reason that it is often restaurants that are first to inject new life into what are often considered to be less-desirable neighborhoods, condos are never far behind and gentrification ensues. A Chicago neighborhood that was once predominantly a meat packing district has attracted a handful of the city's biggest industry players to open up shop and  transform a pariah of an area in the city's west loop into a hip, up-and-coming stomping ground that has for the most part, arrived.