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Chefs visiting Montreal

Lesley C

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OK, for the Montreal Highlights Festival, the theme this year is Spain and San Francisco. So far the only name I have is chef Xavier Pellicer of ABAC in Barcelona, who will be at Toque! El Bulli rumors are circulating.

Also noteworthy, the Pourcel brothers will be cooking together in Montreal at Anise on December 5, 6 and 7th.

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The MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival 2003, Feb. 13 - Mar. 2.

Yes, guest chefs are paired with local chefs in restaurants.

I just saw the lineup and ... wow. I can't divulge names until later but let me just say, I can see two amazing events where pastry chefs might want to consider a trip up north. :wink: Hint, Amanda Hesser recently wrote-up one of these Spanish chefs.

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Lesley -- The festival period is rather long. Within that period, are there are few days on which key events/demonstrations are to be scheduled? Also, what is the pricing of the various events and when can reservations be made or tickets purchased?

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  • 2 weeks later...

The full-lineup of the 2003 edition of the Montreal High Lights Festival was announced today here by the organizers. Unfortunately I don't work in the media, so I don't have any of the details, relating to the 'Dining Experience' portion of the program.

Lesley C, could you give us now the details of the interesting visiting guest chefs? Did you attend the event today, regarding the full-lineup announcement?



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Did my own checking. It turns out, what they announced yesterday, was the other portion of the Montreal High Lights Festival. I was given wrong information yesterday. The Dining Experience portion of the Festival will be announced December 13.



Edited by SteveW (log)
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OK Lesley - I've booked our trip based on the musical events - I was afraid to wait until the food events were announced in case the tickets would be gone. We'll be there Feb 22-26. Any hints on what might be happening foodwise at that time?


And, Patrice, will your resto be open by then?

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The press conference for that event will be held December 12th. I'll post news right after. Anyway, I only have names at the moment, not dates. And the names aren't 100% confirmed either. :sad:

I also just heard Pierre Gagnaire will be coming to Montreal with Herve This, but I haven't a clue when. :sad:

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  • 2 weeks later...
You call the individual restaurants, and get this, some of the dinners are already sold out!

Regarding some of the dinners are already sold out!! Is that because, many of Montreal restaurateurs & people in local food media have an inside track in advance, of who's coming? That the organizers reserve some of the tickets(give out complimentary), for these people?



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SteveW, unfortunately word gets around and rumors travel fast. Cabrales, I hear Gagnaire wil be coming later with Herve This.

While I'm waiting for exact information (I couldn't go to the press conference because there were many chefs present) here are a few names and where they'll be guesting (by the way, this horrible English translation is not mine!):


Catalan chef Santi Santamaria, whose restaurant, El Raco de Can Fabes de

Sant Celoni, has been awarded three stars by the Michelin guide and who is

the international president of Relais gourmands des Relais et Châteaux, and

a member of Les Grandes Tables du Monde, has kindly agreed to serve as

Honorary President of The SAQ Dining Experience.

The talented Xavier

Pellicer of Barcelona's Abac restaurant, will be paired with chef Normand

Laprise of restaurant Le Toqué.

Jordi Butron of Espai Sucre, a dessert restaurant unique in its field, will be

at L'Épicier.

Angel Pascual of Restaurant Llucanès will officiate at the

Queen Elizabeth Hotel's Salle Le Montréalais, where he will prepare the

Catalan convivial meal.

Chef Rafael De Valicourt of Relais et Châteaux Torre

del Remei will be invited at Chez Alexandre

Pep Palau will represent the Osona Cuina collective and the Forum gastronomique de Vic.


Chef Laurent Gras, of the highly praised Fifth Floor Restaurant, paired with colleague Éric

Gonzalez of Lutétia

Nancy Oakes, who will leave Le Boulevard for Le Leméac

and chefs Bastien and Perombelon

Élisabeth Daniel chef Daniel Patterson, paired for the occasion with fellow chef Racha Bassoul of Anise.


Europe will offer the rare pleasure of savouring the creations of Michel Del

Burgo, formerly of Bristol and Taillevent de Paris, who will be at

Restaurant Nuances at the Casino de Montréal

Régis Marcon of Auberge et Clos des Cimes will be at the

Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec

Éric Coisel of Chiberta and Christophe Michalak, pastry chef at Plaza Athénée, will be

respectively visiting at La Chronique and Le Lutétia.

Franck Subileau, of La Bastide des Senteurs en Provence, will put all his savoir-faire to work in

the service of La Maîtresse.

Francis Marin, from Domaine de Fompeyre, will officiate at Café Cherrier.

The French Basque country will be honoured at Restaurant Au Petit Extra with Anxtion Amilia,

who will harmonize his menu with the exquisite selections of his wine-growing compatriots Michel and

Thérèse Riouspeyrous.


Mark Picone, of the Niagara region's Vineland vineyard, at Restaurant La Chronique, along with

three Renaud-Cyr award winners: Anne Desjardins, chef emeritus of L'Eau à la

Bouche, in Sainte-Adèle, at Salle Gérard-Delage, Éric Bertrand, from Auberge

des 3 Canards in Charlevoix and Daniel Vézina, of Laurie Raphaël in Quebec

City, to be invited at Les Continents.


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Whoa! Morimoto (March 1 at Soto) and Vancouver's Hidekasu Tojo (20-21 at the Mikado) will be there as well!

Regis Marcon will be at the ITHQ Feb. 20-23. Santamaria will be doing the Relais & Chateau dinner on Feb 18th.

For the final line up go to:


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The Santamaria dinner might have been of interest to me, had it been on a weekend. Other better-known chefs are Regis Marcon and Michel del Burgo. I'm not sure how reputed the chefs from Spain are, other than Santamaria (no negative connotations, just absence of knowledge).

I consider Coisel to be among the better one-stars in Paris, although not as strong as L'Espadon at the Ritz (which I believe merits two stars now) or L'Astrance (the same, although it's likely too soon for Michelin to award it and the ingredients and non-food aspects might have to become more luxurious). He used to be a sous-chef to Senderens at Lucas-Carton. Chiberta under Coisel is better than it was under the former chef. Decor has a slight Guy Savoy feel to it (without the latter's artwork and certain other modern aspects).

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