First, we talked to the Executive Chef of Le Renoir, Olivier Perret - a recipient of the title of Maître Cuisinier de France:
The dishes on your menu are delicious but at the same time healthy and balanced. You also offer a low-calorie menu. What’s your secret to combining gastronomy and health food effectively?
In my view, these days eating well means eating a balanced diet and eating healthily. Eating good produce, low in fat, cooking with an eye on the right balance of food ingredients: vegetables, legumes and pulses, fruits, cereals, protein, dairy products and so on. They all contribute to healthy and delicious gourmet cuisine!
I myself have health problems and it's important to eat a balanced diet every day. This has influenced my cuisine and the gastronomic dishes we offer at Le Renoir. I use my knowledge of health food and nutrition (inspired by De-Light cuisine) when compiling my menus, for breakfast, lunch and dinner alike.
You are French by birth and by training but then moved to Quebec. So, there are two different cultures to be found in your dishes, combining traditional Quebecois fare and French recipes. Why do you match these two cultures together in your dishes?
It's my history! I think our experience today is the sum of the experiences we’ve gained with our teachers, mentors and chefs, but also our travels. After over 7 years as Executive Chef here in Quebec, I feel it is my duty to work with good local produce as a guarantee of freshness, but also with local producers who do their utmost, every day, to offer us the best! My team is proud to do the best possible work with the region’s finest produce!
You're also a maple ambassador! What do your duties involve? How is that reflected in your restaurant?
My role consists of highlighting maple-based products here in Le Renoir but also in Quebec. I have to create unique recipes for the Maple Federation which promotes them to the public. In that way, people get to know about this magnificent product and the various ways of cooking with it. So, I am committed to promoting maple in my restaurant and always having some maple-based dishes on the menu. I love revealing this product to guests but also to many Michelin-starred chefs who discover it and then adopt it!
What’s your signature dish?
Canadian lobster and maple-braised pork shoulder. A dish that features 3 key products local to Quebec: lobster, caught in our waters, Quebecois pork, which is highly prized and such good quality, and of course maple, which accompanies my cuisine here in Montreal!