When Normand Laprise and Christine Lamarche opened Toqué!, in 1993, they were venturing into new territory for restaurateurs in Montréal. Raised on a farm in rural Québec, Laprise had an appreciation of seasonal fresh ingredients since he was a child, but when he started his culinary career, chefs favored imports from France over local products. His farm-to-table emphasis has now become the norm, but Laprise was there long before other chefs in Montréal. His culinary creations, built on a foundation of the very best ingredients, continue to impress. In 2010, Laprise opened a more casual spot, Brasserie T!, near the Place des Arts.
By John Newton, AFAR Ambassador
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Still the reigning king of Quebec cuisine, Normand Laprise established Toqué! in 1993 with his signature approach to terroir cuisine. Laprise’s culinary style is slightly nouveau with a twist of the molecular, identifiable by the small portions, delicate touch and occasional sides of foam, but basically it’s just great Quebec ingredients served at their prime. Laprise is a magician with simple things like tomatoes (which he turns into everything from coulis to jelly) and wild picked blueberries, and he approaches protein with a deft touch. “Delicate” is his modus operandi, whether it’s pork cheek or razor clams. The flagship restaurant in Old Montreal is a grandiose environment that calls for crisp collars and polished shoes, but if you want a much more casual taste of Toqué!, check out Brasserie T! on Place des Arts.
By Isa Tousignant, AFAR Local Expert