If you’re an adventurous eater who will be in Montreal from August 17 to 20, you’ll want to secure a table at one of the special dinners taking place in town on those nights. They’ll be the highlight of the 3-day Omnivore Festival, when forward-thinking chefs from abroad join forces with some of the local talent in kitchens around town and at food presentations at the Societé des Arts Technologiques…
Perhaps the biggest name among the visiting Omnivore chefs is La Gazzetta’s Petter Nilson, who will cook at the hip little restaurant Lawrence on August 17 alongside chef-owner Marc Cohen, and do a presentation at the Societé des Arts Technologiques (SAT) the following morning. The Paris-based Swede, cooly elegant and press-shy, is hailed by the French press as one of the city’s most creative chefs: his food reflects his cerebral and very personal approach to cooking.
Also promising is the night hosted by Patrice Demers and Marc-André Jetté, chef-owners of top-notch Les 400 Coups restaurant. Considered to be among the best of the avant-garde in Montreal, they’ve invited the two brothers Vincent and Laurent Folmer, of the one-Michelin star Couvert Couvert in Belgium, to cook alongside them.
Omnivore founder and director, the French food writer Luc Dubanchet (ex-Gault Millau guide), likes to shine the spotlight on what he calls “young cuisine”. Several chefs who are huge today – like Iñaki Aizpitarte (Le Chateaubriand and Le Dauphin, Paris), René Redzepi (NOMA) and David Chang (Momofuku empire), participated in earlier editions of the flagship Omnivore, which is the one that takes place annually in Paris.
Fittingly, the festival’s remaining Montreal dinners will feature up-and-coming chefs both local and visitting, like Jerôme Bigot. The chef, who according to the the Omnivore guide “compensates his lack of experience and technique for a permanent inventiveness”, hails from a little bistro in Bourgogne and has been paired up with Michel Marek and Seth Gabrielse at the SAT’s Foodlab which they call home, a decidedly cool and modern restaurant located above the festival’s main venue.
The dinners can be booked by contacting the restaurants themselves, while day passes to attend the presentations can be purchased online.