Food Guy Montreal’s 10 Questions with Jonathan Cheung

April 29, 2012 · 1 comment

in Food Guy Montreal's 10 Questions

Welcome to the latest installment of Food Guy Montreal’s 10 Questions. This month, we feature the owner and talented chef, Jonathan Cheung of Appetite for Books, Montreal’s best cookbook store. Cookbooks from all ages, times, and chefs line the shelves in this quaint and cozy place. Chef Jonathan hosts cooking classes every week from his open kitchen in the back of the store. The catch: each cooking class features recipes from one of the cookbooks he sells, such as  Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes, Momofuku Milk Bar, Alain Ducasse’s Nature, and even knife skills classes to hone the even most able home cook. I’ve known Jonathan for a number of years now, as I used to chat with him while making him a latte or serve him the occasional sandwich from Cavallaro, the Italian specialty store I used to work at around the corner. Thanks Jon for doing this. Here are his answers:

1. What are your 3 all time favorite restaurants in the world? (No particular order)

•   Fore Street, Portland, Maine: There is nothing bad about this place. Fresh everything, local everything, bread is the best I’ve had, wood burning oven and grill. Last time I had this amazing rabbit grilled on a spit over open fire with Fresh raw clams and oysters. Can’t go wrong with that.

•   Vij’s, Vancouver: Vikram is a genius. Flavors are amazingly balanced. Unlike any Indian food you have ever had.

•   This Chicken Restaurant in Tokyo. If you want to see what it’s all about, watch No Reservations Tokyo. The best meal I had when I was there, hands down. And it was really out of the way. Had to transfer to 3 different trains. (Remember this when you read question 6)

2. What would be your last meal?

It would be a combination of a LOT of things. I would want it to be an amalgamation of Hong Kong Style Dim Sum from a place in Vancouver called Sea Harbour and Shanghainese Dim Sum from another place in Vancouver called Shanghai River. Throw in my grandmothers pork Vindaloo, a big bowl of Won Ton Mein with braised brisket from Hon’s Won Ton House in Richmond circa 1997, Oysters and Pearls from The French Laundry, a Poached Egg with Hollandaise whipped by my first Chef Gerhard Pichler, and a TKO from Bouchon Bakery. To wash it down, a Big Rock Traditional and a chilled glass of Viogner.

3. If you were hosting a dinner party, which one guest would you invite? Dead or alive.

By Grandfather Bruce Bayne. I would cook him that Christmas Goose my grandmother would never cook for him.

4. What is your signature dish?

I don’t really have one. Being that I cook so many different types of cuisine, I’m not really known for one in particular. But one of my favorite things to cook is Fried Rice. But I don’t think I’m known for that.

5. What is your favorite junk food?

French Fries and Potato Chips. Not necessarily together.

6. What single food do you or would you go out of your way to have?

I would go out of my way to get anything special from the area I’m in. Example: When I was living in Hong Kong, I would travel 45 minutes one way by subway and then bus just to get this roast goose. You like chinese roast duck? Well imagine if that duck was a goose. 10 times better! And worth the trip.

7. If you could eliminate one food from the world, what would it be and why?

I don’t really see the point in canning common vegetables like peas, corn and carrots or canned fruits. The war is over people.

8. What is your single best childhood food memory.

Going to my Grandmothers house every Sunday with the WHOLE family. I have 12 cousins, so it was pretty nuts/fun. Sort of like a potluck, but my grandmother would always make this Chinese soup with winter melon and pork eaten at the end of the meal. I still make it to this day.

9. Describe the kitchen you grew up in.

It was really simple and bare bones. In my teen years, I was the one that made dinner every night for my siblings and Mom because she would be working until later. So I kind of figured things out on my own. We had some really shitty pots and pans and AMAZINGLY shitty knives. I know this now.

10. What is your go-to comfort food?

Chinese anything.

Bonus: What’s the one ingredient you can’t live without, and why? (excluding salt and pepper)

Butter makes everything taste better


Appetite for Books: 388 Victoria  Westmount, QC H3Z 2N4; (514) 369-2002

For the list of cooking classes available, click here: Appetite for Books Cooking Classes

Follow Appetite for Books on: Twitter and Facebook

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

514eats May 1, 2012 at 9:58 am

Nice post. Had the chance of speaking to Jonathan many times and pick his brains.

The classes are great too! Highly recommended.


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