On Sunday, I was lucky enough to get a reservation at the Au Pied de Cochon Cabane a Sucre to experience (yes, experience because that’s what it is) their fall menu. After our first course, I needed some air, so I went for a brisk walk on the long porch. As I was taking in the country air and admiring the fall colours around me, I noticed at the opposite end, leaning against a wooden post with a large globe of an almost empty glass of red wine in his hand, Normand Laprise. He looked at ease, calm, and happy, as he should while enjoying a full day at the cabane a sucre with his family and friends. Chef Laprise was just named Canada’s Chef of the Year according to Macleans. Knowing that the list of the 50 best restaurants in Canada was recently released, I felt it was necessary to congratulate him on the honour, while his famous restaurant, Toqué!, was part of that long list as well. He was happy and proud he received this and felt the same way for the other named restaurants, but I could sense it was somewhat bitter-sweet. He really wanted to share it with his friends Frédéric Morin and Dave McMillan at Joe Beef, and Martin Picard from Au Pied de Cochon, to name a couple.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great accomplishment for Toqué!, Olive + Gourmando, Bouillon Bilk, Ferreira Café, Les 400 Coups, Kazu, Le Club Chasse et Pêche, Maison Boulud, and Dominion Square Tavern. These restaurants and their staff should be proud, and this should not go unnoticed. It’s a nice “feather in their cap” moment. However, how can you overlook some of these restaurants? It’s not like they were on the fence of making this list. It shouldn’t have been a question. They are the BEST at what they do. They’ve pushed the largest envelope, taken so many calculated risks, and made tons of hungry customers…happy.
Why do we care so much? It’s just a list someone wrote. Why do publications produce these pieces? Maybe we shouldn’t care, and maybe we should. Anyone can make a list of the top 50 restaurants in Canada, and they would all be different, save for a few staples. Yes, we as Montrealers are biased towards Joe Beef and APDC, but for GOOD reason. They most definitely are at the top of their game, and at the very top of the restaurant industry in Canada. Leaving them off this list is shameful. It’s like making pasta without eggs, or singing Hey Jude without the “na na na na” part. Also, you can argue that the Black Hoof in Toronto should have been on that list as well. How did someone not say “What about Joe Beef? What About APDC”? Did Macleans get this one right. No. They overlooked some of the best ones and it’s a shame. I hope the readers absorb this with a few grains of salt
What do you think?