Chef Normand Laprise

Globetrotting Culinary Star

Chef Normand Laprise

Nearly 20 years after opening Toqué!, his internationally acclaimed Montréal restaurant, Chef Normand Laprise has received many of the world’s most prestigious honours, including Maclean’s magazine Chef of the Year for 2012. This year, his fabulous cookbook, Toqué! Creators of a new Quebec Gastronomy (Éditions Du Passage), got nominated at the James Beard Award in the category: Cooking from a Professional Point of View. This huge accolade from the James Beard Foundation is a tribute to our gastronomy.

"I thank my team of professionals and publisher who participated in the creation of this little book of 500 pages!“ said the Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux Normand Laprise.

This makes us all so proud: Congratulations!!!

But Chef Laprise is a perfectionist and he is not resting on his laurels: he is always jetting off in search of new ideas and travelling is at the heart of his creative process: "Sharing with Chefs around the world is a great source of inspiration for me," confides the globetrotting culinary star, who has seen his opportunities to travel multiply since he became a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux.

And when comes time to pack, Normand Laprise admits he doesn't go light..."I am always afraid I will forget something, and I always do..." he laughs.

In his suitcase you’ll always find:

Plenty of clothes, running shoes, golf shoes, and at least 3 pairs of John Fluevog shoes. "I just love his shoes, that's all I wear, and on top, he's Canadian!"

Lounge/electronica music for his daily run. “I have a few hours’ worth of Carlos Vasquez.

Magazines. “I always pack four and never read any of them."

Quebec products. “I once hauled 20 kilos of red-deer venison to France! I consider it very important to tell the world about our products.”

A chef’s jacket, apron, and knives. “I never travel without them. I use mainly Japanese knives.”

The James Beard Award Ceremony will be held at NYC's Gotham Hall, on May 3rd.


Click to see the video of the making of TOQUÉ! Book. 



6 Important Facts About Olive Oil

Reasons to add olive oil to your diet

6 Important Facts About Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is a source of good fat

We know that there are good fats like mono and polyunsaturated fats that are contained in vegetable oils such as extra virgin olive oil, and bad fats like saturated fat and trans fats that are harmful to your health and should be avoided.

Good fats are essential to the proper functioning of the body. "The food industry bombards us with low-fat products and even then, obesity is at endemic levels," says sports nutritionist Evelyne DeBlock. "In contrast, people from the Mediterranean, who cook every meals with extra virgin olive oil, keep fit and live longer, while still enjoying what they eat."

Extra virgin olive oil helps improve your heart and more… 

Extra virgin olive oil contains fatty acids that are essential to health. The omega-3, omega-6 linoleic acid, and omega-9 fatty acids contained in extra virgin olive oil helps keep the heart healthy, contributing to the formation of the brain, the nervous system, and the eyes of babies in utero. It also helps to prevent skin aging, even after exposure to UV rays.

Fries in olive oil? Of course...

Virgin and extra virgin olive oil is perfectly suited for frying. In fact, the Mediterraneans have always used it to fry food. In addition to having a high smoke point (210° C/410° F), olive oil is very stable and can be used multiple times. Interesting: A survey published in the British Medical Journal found that regularly eating food fried in olive oil did not cause a greater risk of heart disease than not eating fried food at all.

Salads are even better

We know that extra virgin olive oil enhances the taste of salads. But even better to note is that studies have showed that it facilitates the absorption of nutrients in salads—including carotenes, which have been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Extra virgin olive oil to power gray matter

Brain functions slow down with age? Not always. Polyphenols and oleic acid content of extra virgin olive oil protects against cognitive decline associated with aging. After evaluating data for four years on more than six-thousand women, aged sixty-five years and over, Italian researchers found that their cognitive function and memory were sharper than women who consumed saturated fat. Olive oil is a smart choice!

Extra virgin olive oil to chase the blues

A good extra virgin olive oil instantly evokes the sweetness of life and the sun. But it also has the interesting virtues of chasing the blues and depression, because of the bioactive polyphenols and linoleic acid it contains.

But beware: all olive oils are not created equal. There are a lot of poor quality products out there claiming to be the real stuff.

Where to find great olive oil: Olive & Olives  

Specialist of great quality olive oil, Olive & Olives, is engaged in a dual mission: To provide the best home this "liquid gold" unique in the world and set the record straight about the many benefits of this oil, a source of essential lipids, most beneficial for the body.

Olive & Olives is a great reference when you need to choose the perfect olive oil for your taste and your budget. They work directly with producers and only import authentic and genuine quality oils. The oils they sell come from certified producers, recognized for their expertise and loyalty to their art.

In Toronto, Olive & Olives is located at 779, Queen St East (416) 551-8181 and look for their stand at Costco (Downsview), until March 17th.