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The Best Quotes from Fool Magazine's Profile of Joe Beef

In which Dave McMillan unloads on a variety of topics

Joe Beef gets the Fool treatment
Joe Beef gets the Fool treatment
Per-Anders Jörgensen

The fifth issue of Fool, the cult Malmö-based food magazine from Lotta and Per-Anders Jörgensen, hits newsstands sometime between October 24 and 27. Of the "Religion" theme, Per-Anders Jörgensen declares: "It is not only in the normal sense that you would think, we do it our way, the 'foolish' way." True to form, the issue is flush with arresting photography and introspective features. In "The Codfathers", La Presse columnist Marie-Claude Lortie chronicles Newfoundland’s ascension as a potent culinary hub through the lens of Jeremy Charles and Jeremy Bonia of Raymonds in St. John's. The article offers a few nods to Montreal, chiefly in reference to Charles’ stint as a cook under the wing of Claude Pelletier.

A more assertive tribute to the city comes by way of a definitive profile of Joe Beef principal Dave McMillan by Lesley Chesterman. Complimented by stark black and white photographs of McMillan and Fred Morin, the wide-ranging article and interview by the Montreal Gazette critic captures McMillan at his most frank and penetrating.

On his and Morin’s time at Globe, the famed restaurant on the Main that closed this week after more than two decades in business: "We were shucking oysters and doing a full raw bar all the way back then but we had to bring in all our own oysters because there was zero oyster culture in Montreal at the time."

"I spent so much time with Fred that he morphed into my brother."

On his enduring friendship with Morin: "I spent so much time with Fred that he morphed into my brother. We had the most fucked up male-to-male relationship you could ever have. I love him, but I don’t know if I even like him."

On the genesis of Joe Beef in 2004-5: "I had a breakdown, I was mentally exhausted and a year later I wasn’t feeling much better. The last thing I needed was more stress. I knew I had to make a lifestyle change."

On the influence of social media: "When you shuck oysters at the bar, all of what you hear from people’s mouths is what they’re regurgitating back from what they’ve read on BuzzFeed, Gawker and Eater. I find myself in a room, full of people talking a lot, lonely or yearning for authentic thoughts or authentic conversation. Finding credible information presented to me intelligently is like finding a needle in a haystack these days."

"I don’t want an epiphany with my food."

On the contemporary food scene and the prevailing identity of Joe Beef: "I like people to eat the way I eat; oysters, an appetizer, a big main course, cheese instead of dessert. I don’t like to eat creative food. What I want to create is a warm dining environment. I like creative people to eat with me though, but I don’t want an epiphany with my food."

On Joe Beef’s emergence as a destination restaurant: "But some people now come to my restaurant, sit there, don’t really talk, and wait for us to blow them away. Sometimes I feel that my managers are disappointed if I’m not there to put on the 8 o’clock show, drunk, talking to everyone and reeking of Meursault. Are people that lonely?"

On the difference between him and Morin: "Fred has always been the better cook, but I’ve always been the better talker."

"Every chef that came to Joe Beef dreamed that they owned Joe Beef."

On success: "Joe Beef was about having a small restaurant, about working five days a week. We were going to shut our mouths and make hanger steaks and trout and have fun. Every chef that came to Joe Beef dreamed that they owned Joe Beef. We were that little restaurant they all wished they owned. We did what we wanted, we threw people out."

It gets better from there, as McMillan expounds on topics as sundry as Mad Symposium, Kraft singles, Mouton Cadet, and Martin Picard. The fifth issue of Fool drops next week at Westmount's Appetite for Books, Mile End's Drawn & Quarterly, and other specialty magazine shops.

Joe Beef

2491 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Le Sud-Ouest, QC H3J 1N6 (514) 935-6504 Visit Website

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