Terroir Hospitality Symposium 2014: Growing Ideas

Community building and creative collaboration in the world of gastronomy

Terroir Hospitality Symposium 2014: Growing Ideas

I had the immense pleasure of being invited to another outstanding edition of Terroir Symposium in Toronto. What an amazing day we had with fabulous chefs and speakers who came from all over Canada, the United States, and the world.

I was mostly impressed with Gérard Mathar, who flew all the way from Gaspésie in Quebec to show us how he forages the many wild products, herbs, mushrooms, seaweeds, and roots he sends to Chefs, as John Winter Russell cooked incredible wild bites to sample. I had never tasted lichen before and I loved it!

Crunchy and savoury with some wild sumac and a bit of yogurt.

The strawberries were served with celery root and seaweeds from the St-Laurent River, which created quite a sensational and unexpected taste.

Most impressive, this cake was presented on a sweet cream of porcini mushrooms, that tasted a little like nougat, with a caramelized chanterelle.

I went from the main room, where sensational speakerssuch as Daniel Boulud (Chez Boulud, NY&Toronto), David Chang (Momofoku NY&Toronto), Normand Laprise (Toqué! and Brasserie T!, Montreal), Albert Adrià (Barcelona, Spain), Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy, NY), David McMilllan, and Fred Morin (Joe Beef, Liverpool & Vin Papillon, Montreal)captivated the audience, to the food demos and wine workshops featuring some of the world’s best sommeliers, all women! And amazing Ontario wines.

With world champion sommelier Véronique Rivest, who will soon open her own wine bar in Gatineau.

The next day, we all went on a tour of the Niagara region and I have to say that I was most impressed by the chefs who presented their savoir-faire at Dillon's Distillery and Ravine Winery.

Delicious food from Tide and Winesmoked oysters on a fresh soda biscuit, wild mushrooms mini-burger, smoked trout with Niagara walnuts from Spencer's in Burlington, 63 degrees Lake land chicken eggs with cured halibut, wild leek salsa verde and perch bottarga from Wellington Court Restaurant, seared scallops, foraged wild asparagus, candied bacon and quail egg from Adam Hynam-Smith - El Gastronomo Vagabondo.  

I could tell you more, but I will leave it as a mouthwatering piece, hoping it will inspire you foodies to join us next year! The event was sold-out, so make sure you book early!

Congratulations Arlene, Ivy, and Alessandro and all the team for another outstanding edition of Terroir! I came back home so inspired!!

Big thank you to the state of the art Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto for such a comfortable and luxurious stay.

Want to try whipping up a gourmet meal at home? With these ingredients you can turn an ordinary meal into a decadent dinner in less than 30 minutes, or you can try these 3 Great Ways To Enjoy Lobster.


Have A Lobster Feast: 3 Great Ways To Enjoy Lobster

Whether it's steamed, boiled or barbecued, lobster is a tasty treat!

Have A Lobster Feast: 3 Great Ways To Enjoy Lobster

It's lobster season once again. Woohoo! It means summer is right around the corner! To enjoy this marvel from the sea to its best, here are 3 easy ways to eat it—whole, in a bun, and in a bowl.

Unless you are from the East Coast and you grew up with lobsters, you will appreciate that today some supermarkets, like Loblaws, will steam your lobster for you fresh on the spot, so you can take it home ready to eat. That saves you the tears and fears of soaking it alive in boiling water. But whether it is cooked or you boil it, steam it or cut it in half and put in straight on the BBQ, always make sure you buy a couple of extra lobsters to make lobster rolls the next day. And never throw out the shell, you will need it for your lobster bisque.

Tip: If you cook your lobster yourself, do not forget to remove the elastics, otherwise the claws will taste like yucky rubber. 

I came across the best lobster roll recipe ever as I was shooting a video at Les Touilleurs, my favourite kitchenware and accessory store in Montreal, where they also have amazing cooking classes and the best collection of cooking books. Sylvain Côté, of Les Touilleurs, agreed to let me share his recipe with you:

Lobster Rolls


300g of lobster flesh (about 2 lobsters)
2 tbs of fennel bulb diced (you can also use celery, with its leaves)
1 tbs of fresh dill, minced 
80 ml (⅓ cup) of mayo (store bought or homemade) 
Juice of a lemon
1 pinch of Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
4 hot dog buns


 Remove shell from the lobster.

 In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together. 

 Butter the buns.

 Grill the buns and fill them with the lobster mixture.

 Serve with potato chips and/or lettuce.

(serves 4 people)

Thank you Sylvain Côté for the recipe!

If you feel decadent and want to indulge in more, try Chuck Hughes lobster poutine! Mmmmmm!


Top 5 Must-Have Treats In Montreal

And That The Whole Family Can Enjoy!

Top 5 Must-Have Treats In Montreal

1) Poutine

It starts with a poutine, of course, but not any poutine—the foie gras poutine from Pied de Cochon is really worth the detour, especially if you haven't yet tried the now mythic restaurant of Chef Martin Picard. Make sure you are not counting calories that day!

2) Smoked Meat

Of course, a Montreal classic! Schwartz's still serves—to my opinionthe best smoked meat in Montreal! Make sure you get the pickle, the coleslaw, and why not a Cherry Coke . . . that's a classic! 


3) Ice Cream

When it comes to ice cream, the best spot in town is KemCobathe delightful shop of Ngoc and Vincent, who craft every treat from scratch and with the best ingredients. They have the best ice cream flavours, like mint and lime (tastes like mojito), and have some great  lactose-free choices. Plus, it's on Fairmount Street, just next to where they make the famous Montreal Bagels.


4) Wine and Cold Cuts

A definite must, la Buvette Chez Simone is everyone's favourite hangout for a happy hour that can last for the entire night. The ambiance is relaxed and cool for the entire family. And if you decide to stay for more than appetizers, they have the best roasted chicken in town. 

5) Steaks

Do you know Moishes? It's a Montreal institution, since 1938, and one of the best steak houses in the country. Moishes serves not only the best cutsall hand cut and aged for a minimum of 30 daysbut they also have the best chopped liver, grilled oyster mushrooms, shrimp cocktails, and, last but not least, the very best baked potatoes and cheese cakes!! A good thing to know is that they have a discount menu after 9pm from Thursday to Saturday.

Have Fun in Montreal!!!

Would you be game to eat muskrat, hare, deer or beaver? If you live in Quebec, you'll now be able to order these items in some restaurants.

Want to make your own poutine? Try this Easy Homemade Canadian Onion Ring Poutine Recipe.