In the Kitchen with Stephane Roth of Quebec’s Le Patriarche


It’s fitting that Stéphane Roth feeds his passion for authentic French cuisine within the stone walls of a nearly 200-year-old Quebec building, years after he helped prepare meals at large family gatherings as a child in France.

Indeed, the world traveller has found his culinary home, but it was a long time coming. Born in France, the budding chef attended Lycée Polyvalent Hyacinthe Friant in Poligny, a professional school where he learned about administration, service and culinary arts. And, although he began work in his homeland, it wasn’t long before he made a move. “I learned a lot in France, but the problem is it is difficult to make your place,” explains Roth. “You have to wait for people to leave before you can go further and be promoted.” Roth worked at top restaurants in America, England, Germany and Switzerland, before he and his wife decided to visit Quebec 10 years ago as part of their travels — they never left. “We wanted to stay maybe two years and maybe try somewhere else, but we decided to stay, because we had a lot of opportunity here. We loved the country,” he says.

Today, the 38-year-old owns Le Patriarche — a 40-seat, two-storey restaurant — with Guy Collin. The two met almost 10 years ago when Collin was looking for a chef; they began working together and eventually formed a business partnership at the restaurant, which Collin owned since 2003. “I always wanted to have my own restaurant, so I could do everything I want and everything I like,” Roth notes.

The executive chef likes local ingredients, house-made products and creating and serving food — such as sea trout, Cornish chicken and chocolate — three ways on a prix-fixe menu. He explains: Guests can “discover different flavours with the same product. If you come to Le Patriarche and you want to eat lamb, you aren’t going to have only the rack of lamb, you are going to have very different parts of the lamb … so different textures and garnishes.” The menu changes seasonally, but ‘The Rule of Three’ always remains. The chef has also continued with a variation of that theme with his Game Meat Trio ($105) dish, which includes specially prepared pieces of wild boar, venison (deer) and guinea fowl.

Moving forward, Roth is busy preparing for the opening of Tournebroche (Rotisserie) this month in the Hôtel Du Vieux-Québec. The menu will feature two main proteins — organic chicken and guinea fowl — at approachable prices. It’s a new take on a tried-and-true culinary philosophy that has already earned the chef a CAA Five-Diamond rating of approval. l

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