The latest Urban Expressions "My Montreal" profile in The Gazette features Junichi Ikematsu of Juni and Saka-Ba!. The veteran chef answers questions on a range of topics, such as the rise of non-sushi Japanese in Montreal and whether he plans to open another restaurant (no, not anytime soon).
On who he most admires as a chef in Montreal, Ikematsu cites a familiar name: "Normand Laprise of restaurant Toqué!, because of his passion and respect for Quebec products."
The chef also plugs Patrice Pâtissier and Hof Kelsten and talks about his tenure at the bygone Soto on Saint-Laurent in the 1990s: "The Main was the place to be. Hubert Marsolais (of Le Club Chasse et Pêche and Le Filet) and I tried to create a new style of Japanese restaurant."
The strongest statement to come out of the otherwise harmless interview is when Ikematsu offers his take on where Montreal ranks as a restaurant hub: "The talent is here, but we can’t compare to the major cities in the world."