In the latest Urban Expressions 'My Montreal' interview in The Gazette with Amie Watson, chef Normand Laprise divulges the significance of his second restaurant in the Quartier des Spectacles.
Brasserie T! saved my life. If I hadn’t opened it five years ago, I don’t know if Toqué! would still be alive. We are so busy and we work very hard, but everything is so expensive, and we can’t sell things for the same price as restaurants can in New York or Paris. Here you pay $100. In New York you pay $400. But we’re the same level of restaurant. That’s the economy in Montreal. It’s good for creativity but it’s not easy for business.
Larpise, whose favourite Montreal spots include Pikolo café, Pullman wine bar, Pâtisserie Rhubarbe and Les Chocolats de Chloé, also thinks the city needs a better market.
I think Montreal needs a real market—like the Union Square Greenmarket in New York where every week producers come and sell directly to customers. It doesn’t necessarily have to be every day, but we need a place where the real people bring the real food.
The Toqué! chef admits that he has had offers to open up a third restaurant in the suburbs but that concerns about traceability and personnel make him wary. Maybe a butcher shop.
Sometimes I think about having a butcher shop that’s like a little co-operative, to help the small growers—people who raise just 100 animals a year.
And a final tidbit of interest.
I’m supposed to start working on a new book. But I don’t want to do another book just to do another book. If I had to do one right now, I’d do one about how to take a product and get the most out of it.