Photos by John Gundy
About the SymposiumRead More…
Photos by Pat Anderson
Chef Normand Laprise is a legend in Quebec for promoting regional cuisine and uplifting the local food community, work he’s been recognized for by the National Order of Quebec, the James Beard Foundation for his new book, Toqué! Creators of a New Quebec Gastronomy, and most recently, Tourisme Montréal with Tourism Personality of the Year. Through his flagship restaurant Toqué! and gastropub Brasserie T! in Montreal, Chef Normand Larpise has shaped a Toquébecoise world—a tight-knit community rooted in Quebec’s rich food landscape, fueled by creativity and sustainability.
Seasonal, quality ingredients are at the heart of Chef Laprise’s kitchens, a philosophy indelibly formed by his childhood on a farm in the Bas-St. Laurent region of Quebec. There, he learned simple, Québécoise fare based on the season’s harvests. As a Chef, Normand Laprise has taken the building blocks from his youth and added skillful technique, ingenuity, and expression to highlight the tastes and culinary traditions of Quebec (ice-fishing, gaming, hunting) and uplifting new processes (like local cheese-making) He’s cultivated the practice of seasonal eating by a commitment to source locally, which meant having a constant dialogue with producers and encouraging them to diversify.
The resulting cuisine is a hyper-lens on the Quebec region, embodied by the community of cooks, farmers, herders, gardeners, and ranchers who support and define Québécoise gastronomy through their daily work. These are the people celebrated in Laprise’s latest book, which invites readers into the kitchen to cook alongside Chef and his staff, meeting the people who make it possible along the way. Readers will also learn the ethical values communicated through Chef Laprise’s cuisine—promoting sustainable food consumption and production. This is vital aspect to the new gastronomy in Quebec, and Chefs like Normand working to foster collaborative change towards a more responsible food system are leading the charge.
One of the causes crucial to Chef Laprise is the promotion of sustainable fishing. By encouraging a network of artisanal fishermen in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, he supports diversity and ensures quality by shortening the production chain from sea to fork. Chef also promotes eco-friendly practices like small-scale aquaculture, and is advocating for Bluefin tuna to be responsibly fished in Gulf waters. Through cuisine, Normand Laprise brings visibility to systemic issues plaguing the food system today.
While Chef’s loyalty to uplifting responsible cuisine emphasizes his strong character, we are reminded it is what long-time friend and Chef Daniel Boulud calls his “child-like spirit” that is reflected through his food. And a new generation of chefs are being educated and encouraged to experiment under Normand’s tutelage, which means a proliferation of the new Quebecoise gastronomy into the future.
Food Culture and Communications Specialist
We are giving away a large Big Green Egg for a lucky early-bird ticket purchaser to this years Terroir Symposium. Buy your ticket by April 12th for your chance to have your very own Big Green Egg. Winner will be announced at the Terroir Symposium on Monday, May 12th, 2014.
The Big Green Egg has culinary partnerships all over the world. It is favored by many of our friends here in Canada such as Chef Jeremy Charles from Raymond’s in Newfoundland. We were fortunate to make use of The Big Green Egg at the Rural Retreat for Terroir 2013. It was praised by all attending chefs and we are so very proud to make it apart of this years event for Terroir 2014.
The Big Green Egg is a versatile Canadian product that is derived from a kamado-style ceramic charcoal cooker. It has been enjoyed since 1979 all year round and has earned the reputation as as the World’s Best Smoker and Grill. It’s multi-faceted functions include grilling smoking and baking. It comes in 5 different sizes with additional accessories to accommodate your every need.
We are excited to be working with the folks from The Big Green Egg.
Mara Jernigan is a seasoned professional chef, cooking instructor, and local food advocate who has an obsession with the provenance of food. For 16 years, she cooked, taught, and farmed in the Cowichan Valley in Canada, until 2 years ago, when she relocated – to cook locally – in the jungle of Belize. Mara is head chef and general manager at Belcampo Belize, a luxury retreat in the rainforest of Toledo, where she champions organic agriculture, environmental stewardship, and quality Belizean cuisine as Chef in the Jungle.
Belize, a sparsely populated country of 350K, has a combination of plusses and minuses in the current food system, according to Mara: there are no McDonalds, no KFCs, no WalMarts, but there is also lack of refrigeration, proper slaughter facilities, seed insecurity, and infrastructure. Mara sees Belize as a blank slate, offering a compelling opportunity to create new food systems with respect to Belizean tradition. That’s just what she’s doing at Belcampo, taking some of the ingredients and cultural aspects of Belizean food and adding stronger techniques and new ideas.
Directing the culinary operation of the retreat is no small feat. Mara is up at the crack of dawn and settles in well after dinner service at the lodge, seven days a week. But Mara’s dedication and skill has helped put the Toledo district, one of the poorest regions in Belize, on the map of world-class travel destinations. Belcampo cultivates indigenous crops of cacao, noble purple cane (for rum), vanilla, and coffee, and guests can participate in processing these products at the agritourism facility. And over 70% of the food served comes from the farm. By fostering this relationship between the guests and the food, people leave with an enriching experience tied directly to what is authentically Belizean. While culturally the cuisine is still quite nascent across Belize, these initiatives could pave the way in defining a new gastronomy.
Mara’s vision extends even further, to addressing systemic food issues such as waste management and the reliance on processed foods throughout Belize. As with many underdeveloped economies, she sees the lack of education, capacity, and infrastructure exacerbating these food issues. In an exciting collaborative project, Belcampo will partner with Earthship Biotecture to build a unique, 100% recycled Juice Joint at a local public school. With a citrus orchard adjacent to the school, the idea is to have kids make and sell juice in the front of the Earthship, while providing much-needed recycling facilities in the rear. The two-pronged approach curbs waste while promoting healthy food consumption.
When Mara isn’t on the farm or busy managing the lodge, she can be found on Belcampo’s basketball court, shooting hoops with her staff. All in a day’s work for this Chef in the Jungle. Fieldtrip, anyone?
Food Culture and Communications Specialist
Join Ferran Adrià, the world’s most award-winning chef and the genius behind elBulli, for a special talk, presentation and Q&A as he shares the journey of his cuisine, techniques, and creative process that has changed the food world forever.
To purchase general admission tickets, visit indigoelbulli.eventbrite.ca
To enjoy an exclusive VIP Experience, visit indigoelbullivip.eventbrite.ca
The VIP Experience includes:
• Copy of elBulli 2005-2011 (Retail value: $625)
• Direct access to Ferran Adrià as he signs your copy of elBulli 2005-2011
• Canapés by Momofuku Shoto “4 Stars. The best restaurant in Toronto.” – Chris Nuttal-Smith, The Globe & Mail
• Reserved VIP seating area for 7:00 PM presentation
• With special thanks to the Terroir Symposium
Date and Location:
Glenn Gould Studio
250 Front Street West, Toronto, ON
Monday, March 10thVIP EXPERIENCE 6:00 PM Doors 5:45 PM
PRESENTATION 7:00 PM Doors 6:15 PM
Terroir attempts to embody local and artisan food culture and Ruth Klahsen is one of the provinces most innovative cheese makers and a woman who is a champion of local and sustainable agriculture and gastronomy. A long time enthusiast and supporter of locavoire food scene, Ruth works tirelessly to keep the name of Monforte Dairy alive and talked about amongst foodies. Keeping with the same high intensity that will be found in nearly all successful kitchens across the Toronto scene, Ruth has learned that in cheese making, there is a time to push and push hard, but also a time to be patient and allow you’re efforts to developing in the following months.