Normand Laprise – Montreal’s Best Chef

Chef Normand Laprise, of Montreal’s best restaurant, Toque!, is considered the founder of Quebec haute cuisine sending it from a staid tradition into a visionary future; he is always surrounded by teetering stacks of local, hand-selected ingredients about which only the best is ever considered. The food is local, organic, seasonal and he is dedicated to protecting our planet. He’s a great example to other chefs to be responsible role-models, only working with sustainable foods, especially sustainable, well-managed fisheries.

Recently, Normand Laprise was awarded the insignia of chevalier of the Ordre National du Québec, which is the highest distinction granted by the Quebec government. The premier of Quebec underlined Laprise’s contributions to the advancement of Quebec gastronomy onto the global stage — both as a beacon for tourism and for the export of artisanal foods made famous by him and the chefs he’s teaching.

Normand is a wiry, earnest man with a ready smile and a thick Quebecois accent. He became one of Canada’s most influential chefs when he opened Toquè in Montreal almost five years ago and now he is poised to become a major player in New York City, as well, with his recent opening of Cena.

Laprise stresses that his cooking is built around one principle: fresh produce is the heart of good food. He grew up on a farm in Quebec, so he knows the culture and care and flavor of fresh, good food.

Studying at the culinary academy in Quebec, he became disillusioned by the disdain and total lack of innovation. He left for France to study with famous chefs like Jean-Pierre Billoux, at Hotel de la Cloche near Dijon.

Laprise’s techniques may be French, but he is firmly a North American chef. He delights in the robust ingredients of this continent, like: roasted venison with a jus flavored with spruce tips, or seared foie gras with rhubarb compote, baby corn and pumpkin seed oil. He’s not delicate with his flavor. They sing an American opera.

In this tough economy, more people have been concerned that this expensive restaurant was out of their financial league, so Normand opened his more moderate brasserie in Montreal, called Brasserie T!

Please read my original article about Toque! Montreal – the city’s Best Restaurant

More about Normand next time, along with some ways to discern if your palate is likely compatible with his.

Montreal Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

Leave a Reply