VANCOUVER — In April, the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) in hosted representatives from Quebec to share their products and expertise through a trade show, VIP reception, master class and a bespoke Quebec-themed menu. For one week, Vancouver’s food community had the opportunity to learn about the bounty of Quebec products.
The events kicked off on April 3, with the Rendez-vous Gourmet Québec Professional Trade Show. Rendez-vous Gourmet Québec has presented Toronto and Calgary events in the past, but this marked its first Vancouver event. Set in PICA’s Bistro 101 — a marina-side event space — the event featured 15 artisanal producers.
Cheese lovers were not disappointed. La Fromagerie Bergeron set the standard for Canadian Gouda in the late 1980s, while La Fromagerie Champêtre has established itself as the go-to for cheddar and cheese curds. All in, there were 500 cheese brands represented at the event, thanks to the portfolios of Plaisirs Gourmets and Fromages CDA — champions and distributors of artisanal Quebec cheeses.
Quebec’s luxury ingredients were also highlighted, such as foie gras from Rougié Foie Gras and duck from Les Fermes Hudson Valley. Sweet offerings included a rainbow of macarons from Point G and 100-per-cent-organic maple syrup from Produits d’érable Cumberland Inc./Blanc by RouGe.
New and innovative Quebec products were also featured, including bison meat from Northfork Bison and camelina oil and seeds from Oliméga. Spices were in the spotlight with Dion Herbes & Épices (the province’s leading seller of herbs and spices) and La Plantation, which ethically sources Kampot pepper from Cambodia. Finally, a selection of packaged goods were showcased, with Beau-Lieu Instantané’s spices, sauces and condiments spanning three consumer lines (BoCoq Gourmet, Brickstone Fine Foods and AP Gourmet) and Cuisine Malimousse’s seafood dips, spreads and mousses.
Back in the PICA professional teaching kitchens, students were treated to a master class hosted by two of Quebec’s top chefs: Samuel Sirois, head instructor, Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) and Canadian candidate for Bocuse d’Or 2021; and Jonathan Lapierre-Réhayem, executive chef of the Restaurant de I’ITHQ.
PICA students learned about sea buckthorn berries, lichen, bison, camelina and, of course, maple syrup. They also enjoyed a chef demonstration of seared bison tartare with black garlic and maple-soy-marinated mushrooms, followed by maple-and-sumac marshmallows.
The following week, PICA students presented a Quebec-focused tasting menu at Bistro 101. The limited-run menu, created by chef Lapierre-Réhayem, was an opportunity for PICA students to practice the techniques they’d learned in their master class. Dishes included butternut squash terrine, served with sea buckthorn, a crispy camelina cracker and dollop of fresh Quebec cheese; and a main course of Hudson Valley duck magret with maple-soy glaze, black garlic puree, parsnip, kale and pickled mushroom.
A Quebec cheese tasting — included with the dinner menu and available as a supplement for lunch — featured a selection of artisanal cheeses with maple-pepper jelly, pickled cranberries, apricots and toasted walnuts. Finally, diners enjoyed a religieuse à l’érable (two choux puffs filled with maple cream), served with sweet-clover ice cream and caramelized pecan.
This cross-country partnership was made possible by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in Québec (MAPAQ) and its conseiller en développement de marché, Sylvain Talbot, the Bureau du Québec à Toronto and Agrifood attaché, David Dupuy, IHTQ and PICA, in collaboration with Restaurants Canada.
Written by Eagranie Yuh