By Stuart Nulman – mtltimes.ca
The excitement and frenzy that is the annual F1 Canadian Grand Prix is less than two weeks away. And Montreal, especially the downtown core, is ready to welcome F1 enthusiasts from around the world in what will be one continuous party between June 9 and 12.
One place that will certainly become the place to be when it comes to Grand Prix party central is the historic Auberge St. Gabriel in the heart of Old Montreal.
Last Tuesday (May 24), the media were invited to the Auberge for a special preview of what it will have in store for its sixth annual line-up of exclusive Grand Prix celebrations. What makes this year’s edition so significant is that for the first time, Auberge St. Gabriel has been recognized by Octane, the race’s official promoter, as an official Canadian Grand Prix festivities site.
Auberge hosts Francisco Ramirez, Felipe St. Laurent, Nicolas Rubbo, Vincent White, Philippe Rainville, Moe Tawil and Cindy Simard unveiled the six main events that the Auberge will hold from June 9 to 12 that will certainly guarantee that this nightclub/restaurant with its combination of modern elegance and old world charm will be a magnet for those who enjoy a good party throughout Grand Prix festivities (especially owing to the fact to its location, which is just a short distance from the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve).
It all begins with the red carpet F1 BBQ launch party on June 9 from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. While the BBQ launch will attract its fair share of F1 and local celebrities, the main attraction will be the eight dishes prepared for the evening by guest chef Cindy Wollenschlaeger. A native of South Africa who has been residing in Montreal since 2010, Ms. Wollenschlaeger will prepare authentic South African BBQ cuisine that will be cooked on an open fire type of BBQ grill that’s commonly used in South Africa. During last Tuesday’s preview event, we got the chance to sample three of the eight savoury BBQ dishes that will be served during the June 9 launch: “sosasties” (a marinated lamb and apricot kebab), “boerewors” (a sausage made of beef, pork and bacon, served on a roll with caramelized onions and peach chutney), and mini angel cakes topped with berries and a special cream sauce.
“I work in the luxury food spectrum, in which I prepare exquisite foods in an unusual location, and I am indeed looking forward to the experience of preparing these South African BBQ dishes during the Grand Prix at Auberge St. Gabriel,” said Ms. Wollenschlaeger, who is a Cordon Bleu chef and has been an executive chef for several luxury cruise lines, as well as the chef for the annual “Burning Man” event, and even went as far as preparing private dinners for two on an exotic island location.
Ms. Wollenschlaeger will also be the main chef for the Bagatelle F1 Brunch Party on June 11 starting at 12 noon. This seven-hour brunch will offer a selection of dishes from the South of France, with bottle service at 3 p.m. in an afternoon and early evening of good food, dancing and celebrating that only a Grand Prix weekend can offer. At $60 a person, it’s an event that organizers are confident will sell out quickly.
Auberge St. Gabriel will cap off its F1 Grand Prix festivities with a post-race closing soiree on June 12 starting at 10 p.m. This ultra VIP event will be another not-to-be-missed event, as many of the participating F1 drivers are expected to attend, along with local and international celebrities, plus top fashion model Devon Windsor, and several of the famous Victoria’s Secret Angels. Tickets cost $60 each.
Also included on the Auberge St. Gabriel’s Grand Prix festivities line-up are special Grand Prix banquets on June 10, 11 and 12; and nightly Grand Prix parties that will take place from June 9 to 11 in the basement club of the Auberge starting at 10 p.m., which will offer plenty of dance music and cocktails, especially an official Grand Prix cocktail that has been created by the Auberge’s bartenders, which is a mixture of vodka, Jus Pur fruit juice and a touch of mint leaves.
So give your F1 Grand Prix weekend an octane boost at the Auberge St. Gabriel and get ready for a festive experience that will put you in the winner’s circle. For more information, or to reserve your spot for any of the events (in which VIP packages are also available), call 514-278-1548 or go to www.abge.ca .