Montréal en lumière: The gastronomy program
by Sergio Martinez
Montreal’s most popular winter festival, Montréal en Lumière (Montreal Highlights) announced its gastronomy program this week which as usual intends to satisfy the demanding tastes of Montrealers and visitors. For the 2014 edition there will be an important departure in regard to the usual focus on the gastronomy of one particular city or country, instead of looking abroad this coming year the spotlight will be on Montreal. And why not: Montreal has a selection of good chefs, and by featuring their creations the festival attempts to “confirm Montreal’s status as one of the great culinary cities on the planet!” as indicated by Jean-Pierre Curtat, executive chef at the Montreal Casino and one of the members of Montréal en Lumière’s board of directors.
The gastronomy program of the festival will have several sections, the most ambitious being Planète Montréal, in which the different restaurants participating in the event will host a special evening to which artists, athletes, writers and other personalities will be attending and, I guess, interacting with each other.
The section Amitiés gourmands Air France (Gourmand Friendships Air France) will provide the international focus this time, featuring renowned chefs from France, Belgium, Portugal, and Morocco. The guests will be welcomed by ten Montreal colleagues from various restaurants.
The Montreal-San Francisco section follows a festival’s tradition of pairing Montreal chefs with those of an American city. San Francisco and its cuisine will be featured this time, as chef Curtat said: “The chefs of S.F. are renowned for the way they prioritize fresh local products while adding exotic flavours from the world over with a zest of creative genius.”
Coup de chapeau à Haiti (Hats Off to Haiti) will feature two chefs from that country, as part of the special focus on that Caribbean nation which will also be present in the arts, the outdoor shows and certainly in the gastronomy section.
The Free Spirits section groups different activities, from samples of Quebec regional cuisine (Montreal-Laurentians) to “Brunches and Lunches,” and “5 à 7 / À boire”.
The special events will feature a Lumière sur Montréal, a gourmet event to take place on February 18 at 6 p.m. at the Société des arts technologiques (SAT) where some 25 chefs will be offering their creations all of that accompanied by music and dance. This is a benefit for Centraide. A Haiti convivial meal will be held at the Bonsecours Market on March 1, 6:30 p.m. as the beginning of the Nuit Blanche.
Some traditional events like the Festival of Quebec Cheeses will take place at Complexe Desjardins from February 20 to 23, and once again the Jean Talon Market will be the stage for regional cuisine, this time chefs from the Laurentians will present 10 culinary workshops. And for those interested in the secrets of making bread, the Sensory Seminar—The Taste of Bread will take place at the UQAM, Coeur des sciences, on February 26 at 6 p.m.
For detailed information about the schedules both the artistic and the gastronomic, and the description of each activity you can visit montrealenlumiere.com or get the free program at any SAQ store.
Picture on top : Jean-Pierre Curtat, chef at the Montreal Casino, lists the gastronomy events being held at Montréal en Lumière