This “caravan” of young contemporary cuisine added Montreal to its 12-city tour for the first time this year, much to our gustatory pleasure. The decision came after Omnivore founder Luc Dubanchet’s exploratory gastronomic trip to Montreal. He was impressed by the creativity of some of Montreal’s finest kitchens as well as the sense that the city was on the brink of a culinary revolution, much akin to what Paris went through more than a decade or so ago.
From August 16to 20, Omnivore invaded the Society for Arts and Technology’s Satosphere. The imposing dome with 360-degree projections was home to 3 days of food talks and demos by several international chefs as well as some local culinary geniuses. Some of Montreal’s most loved food trucks like Grumman78, Nouveau Palais’s Winneburger and Pastaga’s Monsieur Crémeux’, were also there to feed the crowds.
I had the privilege of being present at some of the inspiring demos. A few of the local talents participating included Marc-André Leclerc, the man at the helm of the Grumman78 food truck’s kitchen, Gita Seaton from Nouveau Palais and Patrice Demers from Les 400 coups.
The day’s demos ended with Derek Dammann and Alex Cruz, respectively from Maison Publique (opening in the fall) and Société Orignal. The duo formed a most interesting pair and created some delicious dishes using some of Société Orignal’s Quebec-foraged products.
Also participating in the demos that day were Petter Nilsson, the Swedish-born chef from the Parisian restaurant La Gazzetta and Grégory Marchand from Frenchie. Both chefs arrived in Montreal with an open mind and no pre-set menu plans. They wanted to be inspired by what Montreal had to offer, and inspired they indeed were by the bounty found at the Jean-Talon market at this time of year.
Although each chef has a different cooking style, one with more Nordic sensitivity and the other a definite French approach, the dishes they created using local Quebec products were all beautiful to look at. We unfortunately couldn’t taste any of them during the demos but we did manage to get a taste of some at the Omnivorious party that night.
The party took over the whole first floor of the SAT complex and combined great music with great food. Patrice Demers & Marc-André Jetté (Les 400 coups), Grumman 78 (Grumman 78), Marc-André Royal (Le St-Urbain), Eloi Dion (Van Horne), Petter Nilsson (La Gazzetta – Paris), Samuel Pinard (La Salle à Manger), Simon Mathys (Bar & Boeuf), Gita Seaton (Nouveau Palais), Jérôme Bigot (Les Grès – Lindry), Martin Juneau (Pastaga) and John Horne (Canoe, Toronto) were all there assembling and distributing their creative crowd-pleasing bites to the beat of some of the city’s best DJs.
The Omnivore festival is also about pairing some visiting chefs with local ones for great dinner experiences. I attended the Folmer brothers’ dinner at Les 400 coups and was amazed at how harmonious the menu was, even though each of the teams was cooking an alternate course. I could hardly tell who was cooking what since everyone in the kitchen that night seemed to have the same sensibilities and philosophy about food. A great match indeed.
This first edition of the Omnivore World Tour in Montreal was a huge success. It left every food lover in the city hungry for more. No need to fret though, the festival’s founder Luc Dubanchet has promised to be back next year.
To see all of Mayssam Samaha’s Omnivore photos visit the Montreal Buzz Flickr account.