Almost seven months to the day after an initial attempt to "change the image of a locale with a bad rep on the Main", as one blogger put it at the time, Icône reboots today with new chef de cuisine Derek Bocking. Original chef Charles-Emmanuel Pariseau moves on to O Chevreuil, his "American tavern" in Sherbrooke.
Bocking is late of Chez Ma Grosse Truie Chérie, a regular on CBC radio, where he often chats up recipes from his blog, Derek's Kitchen, and a former contestant on Top Chef Canada. He spoke today about his new gig.
First service at a new restaurant today. How do you feel?
Good! Charles-Emmanuel is still here for a few days to help with the transition before I take over.
So why the move to Icône?
It was because of Steve Brass. He was the manager of Globe for five years and I was there for four of them. I worked for many years on Saint-Laurent, first at Sofia and then at Globe, where I was with Fred Morin for the first two years.
Any menu changes on the horizon?
Yes, some substantial menu changes but not at all at once. The Valentine's Day menu will be the first showcase of my food but until then I'm playing it by ear. Some tweaks at first and then a proper, full menu.
Lesley Chesterman was very critical of Icône in The Gazette last October. Do you consider that at all as you take charge of the kitchen?
It's obviously something you can't ignore. It's the elephant in the room. But that happened months before my involvement. It doesn't reflect on me. There's a lot of opportunity here. I think I have my finger on the pulse of what people want to eat so I'm just going to do my food. My menu, my food - we'll see what happens from there.