The Québec maritime Blog

Portraits of Passionate and Talented Chefs
  • Gourmande de nature

Portraits of Passionate and Talented Chefs

A good way to get to know a region is to taste the local cuisine. And there are lots of culinary delights to discover in the maritime regions of Québec! These four chefs have made it their mission to introduce their patrons to the flavours of their regions. We asked them a few questions to get to know them better.

Bas-Saint-Laurent

Name: Hugues Massey
Establishment: Auberge du Chemin Faisant (Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac)
Training: Diploma of Collegial Studies in Hotel Management

How would you describe your cooking style?

A balance of tastes, flavours, colours and textures: creating dishes that are works of art while always maintaining a connection to the cuisine of my childhood and showcasing local know-how as much as possible. That’s my definition of my cooking style! I especially like to reinvent the classics of Québec cuisine. Combining sweet and savoury, tender and crunchy, spicy and creamy—these types of contrasts typify the cuisine we offer. I like to say I’m a “culinary craftsperson”!

Name two staple ingredients from your region that you like to use and tell us why.

Maple syrup: It’s an internationally recognized culinary icon of Québec, and the Bas-Saint-Laurent region is the second largest producer in the province. It’s a versatile ingredient that can work in both savoury and sweet dishes. The chemical composition of maple syrup makes it possible to combine it with a wide variety of ingredients, including grilled or smoked meat and fish, strawberries and pineapple, grilled vegetables, dark chocolate, balsamic vinegar, and spices such as curry, cinnamon and cloves.

Organic sprouts from La Jardinière, a company based in Auclair: Their sprouts are fresh, colourful and varied as well as packed with nutrition. They’re a perfect complement to many dishes and a great base for micro salads.

What two value-added products from your region would you recommend?

Any of the alcoholic beverages made by Domaine Acer: Prémice d’Avril, Charles-Aimé Robert, Val-Ambré and Mousse des Bois.

The cheese curds made by Fromagerie des Basques, which are available plain or flavoured with herbs, black pepper or barbecue spices. I always enjoy the challenge of using this type of cheese in something other than a traditional poutine.

How does your region inspire you on a daily basis?

As a person coming from the Îles de la Madeleine, the main thing that has influenced me is wild meat. The first year we arrived in the Témiscouata area (in 1999), we created a gourmet game festival. Ten courses with wine pairings featuring game: it’s a feast for the senses. This event is what has made our inn’s reputation.

Îles de la Madeleine

Name: Johanne Vigneau
Establishment: La Table des Roy and Gourmande de Nature (L’Étang-du-Nord)
Training: self-taught, with advanced training in Vancouver, Switzerland and France

How would you describe your cooking style?

I love fresh local ingredients. I love showcasing products from local growers, market gardeners, farmers, fishers and harvesters. All these food artisans work hard to provide us with the best of what’s available on our territory, and I think that cooking with these products is a way to show our support and love for our region. I’m also inspired by international cuisines, particularly Asian cuisine, which makes careful use of ingredients, an approach that speaks to me.

Name two staple ingredients from your region that you like to use and tell us why.

Scallops and crab are endless sources of inspiration in the kitchen! Scallops can be prepared and served in so many ways: raw, smoked, as a ceviche, seared, as a tartare… But the best scallop I ever tasted was underwater, while diving! As for crab, it marks the beginning of spring, or at least our hope that spring is on its way! Eaten fresh from the shell, it is second to none, but once you’ve had your first taste of the season, it can also be featured in so many dishes!

What two value-added products from your region would you recommend?

I love rosehips, the fruit of wild roses. At Gourmande de Nature, my boutique of culinary finds, we make a rosehip butter that works well with many dishes, both savoury and sweet. It’s a perfect complement for Pied-de-Vent cheese, another one of my favourites. Luckily, cheeses made by the Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent cheese factory are sold throughout the province of Québec, and the Gourmande de Nature products will soon be available in our online store, which means that visitors can enjoy these summer-vacation treats year-round!

How does your region inspire you on a daily basis?

The sea air, at Côte à L’Étang-du-Nord, has always inspired me. It takes me back to my childhood. My father was a fisherman; when he wasn’t out on his boat, he was working the land and salting fish, getting ready for winter. I learned from an early age that fish has a fresh sea smell, that the whole lobster is edible, and that salt cod is a special treat. I still love salt cod and do my best to introduce it to people who visit La Table des Roy and Gourmande de Nature.

Gaspésie

Name: Frédérick Boucher
Establishment: Estevan Lodge restaurant in the Reford Gardens (Grand Métis)
Training: Diploma in Professional Cooking and Sommelier Training from the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec

How would you describe your cooking style?

A cuisine of feelings, raw and simple, a cuisine inspired by my travels and culinary experiences as well as the chefs I’ve met, but above all a seasonal cuisine that showcases local food producers and artisans.

Name two staple ingredients from your region that you like to use and tell us why.

I’m a seafood fanatic and especially love snow crab, which is a symbol of spring here. I’ve been crazy about this crustacean since I was little. Its delicate and sweet flesh makes it a choice ingredient.

I also have a sweet tooth, so maple syrup is an integral part of my cooking. Not only can this noble sweetener replace white sugar, but it can also take a dish to levels of complexity that white sugar will never reach.

What two value-added products from your region would you recommend?

Honey from Vieux Moulin in Sainte-Flavie is a must for me. Established in the region for several years, this product has subtle floral notes and can accompany cheeses as well as your favourite desserts.

I also like Gaspésie Sauvage products, which include dried and powdered mushrooms, wild spices, herbal teas and marine plants.

How does your region inspire you on a daily basis?

After several years spent abroad, it was the distinctive sea air of the St. Lawrence and all it represents that called me back, as well as the people. I think their passion for getting back to the land and their awareness of social issues and the realities faced by local food entrepreneurs really pushed me to come back to my birthplace and continue to inspire me and encourage me to challenge myself every day.

Côte-Nord

Name: Martin Brisson
Establishment: La Galouïne Inn & Restaurant and Terroir Boréal (Tadoussac)
Training: Self-taught, life experience

How would you describe your cooking style?

We specialize in grilled dishes, seafood and smoked products made in our smokehouse. Our contemporary cuisine showcases regional ingredients. Guests can choose between a table d’hôte or à la carte menu of seafood, pasta, pizza and grilled dishes. A bistro menu is also available on the patio, with high-quality draft beers, cocktails and iced tea made with northern plants.

Name two staple ingredients from your region that you like to use and tell us why.

Seafood: I love cooking lobster, which I stuff with northern shrimp and scallops and serve with a lobster bisque sauce.

Local berries: We make a blueberry syrup with northern spices that has a wild flavour that’s uniquely representative of our region. We use the syrup in salad dressings and cocktails as well as in desserts and on homemade waffles.

What two value-added products from your region would you recommend?

The spices and confits made by Terroir Boréal: These are homemade products that we developed and make here, in Côte-Nord. We particularly like the northern spices, which we use on meat, including game.

How does your region inspire you on a daily basis?

The boreal forests in Côte-Nord are what inspire me. We cook with northern berries and spices from the region, which are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. We turn berries such as blueberries, lingonberries and haskap berries into syrups or fruit powders, which we then use to make desserts. The seasons also obviously inspire our menus. In the spring, we focus on fresh seafood and fish such as turbot, crab, cod and northern shrimp. In the fall, we showcase game meats with our Croutier Montagnais: a four-courses-in-one meal featuring duck leg and venison sausage.

Has reading these interviews whet your appetite? Don’t miss the opportunity to visit these chefs’ establishments during you next stay in our regions! To find out more about our regional cuisine, explore our flavour trails.

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