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Evelyn Reid

Toqué, A Montreal Institution, Reveals Recipes in Toqué! Creators of a New Quebec Gastronomy

By November 29, 2012

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Toqué, a top Montreal restaurant, releaved its recipes in Toqué! Creators of a New Quebec Gastronomy, its first cookbook.Above: Normand Laprise, one of Canada's leading culinary masterminds, shaking hands with fans of his work at an exclusive evening celebration of the release of the original French version of Toqué! Creators of a New Quebec Gastronomy last October 22, 2012 at Arsenal. The English version has been available since November 28, 2012. Photo © Evelyn Reid

According to Anthony Bourdain, "they've raised the profile of Canada to an international level almost singlehandedly." Not that locals need the reminder. You'd be hard-pressed to find a Montrealer who's never heard of Toqué, a Montreal restaurant that's not only redefined Quebec cuisine, but in many ways, created a Québécois gastronomical movement from scratch.

So when co-owners Christine Lamarche and Relais & Châteaux* Grand Chef Normand Laprise -- the title might sound a little stuffy, but don't be fooled, Kamouraska farm-raised Laprise is as approachable and down-to-earth as grand chefs come -- announced the release of Toqué! Creators of a New Quebec Gastronomy, I was all ears. And eyes. And taste buds. One of Canada's greatest restaurants was about to reveal how to replicate five-diamond dishes, bona fide works of art, in the comfort of home.

Toqué, a top Montreal restaurant, releaved its recipes in Toqué! Creators of a New Quebec Gastronomy, its first cookbook.Above: Mr. Hotty McHotness, otherwise known as chef de cuisine Charles-Antoine Crête (center) in deep discussion with his saucier chef Paul Harry Toussaint (left) and food, fashion and lifestyle blogger Sarah Desamours. Under the tutelage of Laprise, Crête is, from what I've been told, as much of a mastermind behind the creations revealed in Toqué! Creators of a New Quebec Gastronomy as is his mentor. And he's a bit of a rebel. More on that here. Photo © Christelle François

But they never said these recipes were going to be easy. I published a handful of them myself here on About.com Montreal, and as a fairly good home cook myself, I gotta tell ya, just sourcing some of the ingredients is a challenge. Think vanilla grass, razor clams, edible violas. But just imagine the end result. The thought of seared foie gras with strawberry and red pepper jelly served on a bed of daikon confit bathing in rhubarb water has me in near tears of ecstacy.

Toqué, a top Montreal restaurant, releaved its recipes in Toqué! Creators of a New Gastronomy, its first cookbook.Above: your humble guide questioning the contents of the above shots at Ouache Bar, a special installation living up to its name, set up for the Toqué cookbook launch celebration. Part pickle water, part vodka, staff were unable to pinpoint exactly which brand of vodka I was drinking since they combined, in a sanitary fashion, the bottomly remains left in several vodka bottles collected from a certain unnamed restaurant. It was, uhm, different. Photo © Sarah Desamours

Toqué! Creators of a New Quebec Gastronomy is currently available via Indigo. Buy Toqué! Creators of a New Quebec Gastronomy online.

Toqué, a top Montreal restaurant, releaved its recipes in Toqué! Creators of a New Gastronomy, its first cookbook.Above: your humble guide surrounded by two lovelies: hip hop promoter Christelle François (left) and food, lifestyle and fashion blogger Sarah Desamours. Photo © Paul Harry Toussaint

Toqué, a top Montreal restaurant, releaved its recipes in Toqué! Creators of a New Gastronomy, its first cookbook.Above: McHotness showing his saucier chef appreciation after cornering him in a headlock. Photo © Christelle François

*Established in 1954, Relais & Châteaux is a French initiative, an association, or fellowship if you will, of roughly 500 luxury restaurants and hotels across five continents. Criteria for inclusion in the group is exceptionally demanding. Canada currently has 14 members, and only two Montreal restaurants made the cut. One of them is Toqué.

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