Want to know why an extremely renowned American chef and TV personality says “Canada would be hopeless without Montreal”? Watch this clip to see why there is no other place like Montreal in the world and to uncover the city’s secret sauce.
Anthony Bourdain spends 24 hours exploring Montreal for an episode of The Layover which appears on the Travel Channel. The show’s concept is that each episode features an exploration of a city that can be undertaken within an air travel layover. I just discovered the show and I find it hugely entertaining.
In the Montreal episode available below, chef Bourdain calls up local friends to explore the city’s hot spots that can’t be found in any guidebook. He sees firsthand why Montreal’s food scene is vibrant and fun. It is a relatively accurate portrayal of the city, albeit mainly of the hipster side of Montreal’s culinary scene rather than the high-end scene (which is also exciting). Some locals find the show a bit stereotypical, but on the flip side, I am sure that even Montrealers will discover hidden gems. The episode omits two can’t miss local ingredients: poutine and maple syrup. Advice for tourists: you must visit La Banquise to try poutine (they serve countless variations, but the best one is the traditional style).
Montreal’s Secret Sauce: An Abundance of Talented, Entrepreneurial Chefs
The show features local culinary icons such as David McMillan, Martin Picard, Normand Laprise. These household names represent only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the numerous world-class chefs in the city. Food and agriculture have always been a source of ardent pride and passion for Quebecers. However, by what is popular these days, it seems like the independent food service industry is booming (among all Canadian provinces, restaurant chains achieve the lowest penetration in Quebec). Entrepreneurial chefs are found everywhere on TV, books, and magazines. Lately, about half a dozen of them have reached in Quebec a Martha Stewart-like status (mini conglomerates with a growing media and restaurant franchises), count as some of Montreal’s most successful exports, and rank among the city’s top unofficial spokespersons (David McMillan, Chuck Hughes, Louis-François Marcotte, Ricardo, Cora, etc.). Advice to all: we should take advantage of the great and affordable food served by these fantastic chefs before the world becomes aware of one of our greatest natural resources and it becomes out of reach.
Warning disclaimer: You will be hungry within a few minutes of watching the show. Enjoy!
PS: I already anticipate your next question, and of course, I will not disclose the name of my favorite chef, as I intend to keep this special person my hidden ace for my own benefit and enjoyment 🙂