David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, announced 95 new appointments to the Order of Canada on December 26. Among them, Montreal chef Normand Laprise of Toqué! and Brasserie T!.
Toqué!'s press bureau just released a statement in reaction to the honour.
Montreal, December 30, 2014. – The nomination of Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux Normand Laprise as a Member of the Order of Canada has been received with enthusiasm and much gratitude for the recognition of Canadian gastronomy-Quebec style. This illustrious civil distinction of merit was awarded for his contribution and dedication in the development of contemporary Canadian cuisine, his innovative talents and his mentoring activities with young chefs.
“I am truly honored to receive this distinction to be shared with everyone who have accompanied me during my career, in particular, my associate Christine Lamarche of restaurant Toqué! and Brasserie T! along with the immediate members of my brigade as well as past members and with the artisans who have supported me in my quest to give Québec cuisine a strong identity.” says chef Laprise.
Born in Kamouraska, it is in Québec City that Normand learned the trade and developed his passion. Apprenticeships in Europe and Asia preceded the opening of restaurant Toqué! in 1993 where the love affair between Laprise and the world of gastronomy takes shape and grows. His obsession for “well-born” regional products, his creative impulse, the respect for the artisans with whom he developed his culinary philosophy plus his mentoring approach with young chefs including his participation as jury member of Vancouver’s Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship competition completes a good picture of the man who now enjoys fame across Canada and internationally.
A growing list of prestigious awards has continued to expand through the years:
Chevalier of the National Order of Québec; Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux; member of Les Grandes Tables du Monde; Best Chef of the year Maclean’s Magazine; Honoris Causa diploma – Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Québec; Grand Prix du Tourisme Québécois – Tourism Personnality of 2014. His book Toqué! Creators of a new Quebec Gastronomy won a James Beard Foundation Award and the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for best Canadian cookbook.
Having been guest chef at many events in Tokyo, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Paris, Copenhagen, Sao Paulo, Cancun and other great food cities he also hosted at Toqué! great names of international gastronomy – amongst others are Anne-Sophie Pic, Tetsuya Wakuda, Xavier Pellicer, Daniel Boulud, Massimo Bottura, Mauro Colagreco, Luis Andoni and Michel Rostang.
On a personal level he supports numerous charitable causes and cultural organizations.