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Les Chefs’ Hero Hakim Chajar is Getting Back to the Kitchen

Set to mix Moroccan flavours and local produce on the Plateau

Hakim Chajar
Andréanne Gauthier

Ever-industrious Montreal chef Hakim Chajar is set to spend a little less time on-screen and a bit more time at the stovetop as of this Thursday: he’s joining Plateau demi-French spot Chambre à Part not just as a chef, but as a restaurant co-owner alongside Stephanie Labelle and Jean-Baptiste Marchand, both known for their work at La Fabrique.

Chajar first made a name for himself as a finalist on Radio-Canada cooking competition-cum-reality show Les Chefs! back in 2012; he appeared a second time on La Revanche, an all-stars reformulation of the show in 2014, too. Chajar also took on substantial challenges off the airwaves — he was tasked with cleaning up the mess that was Gordon Ramsay’s Laurier BBQ. He did good work piecing together a new reputation for the restaurant under the moniker Laurea, and a new ownership team consisting partly of Jeff Stinco, guitarist for the internationally ear-piercing Lavallois band Simple Plan.

Chajar left Laurea over a year ago to bounce back to TV, and Laurea was put on ice not too long after. Chambre à Part is definitely a more low-key operation than Laurea for Hakim: it has less big money behind it, and had a rocky start with a mix of rave and not-quite-rave reviews since opening a year ago.

Inside Chambre à Part
Alex Paillon

He starts right in time for the annual festival of set menus MTLàTABLE and the menu he has put forward suggests that he’ll stick to his trademark style, injecting characteristic hints of Moroccan flavours into his cuisine — the menu definitely has the Chambre à Part vibe of French crossed with north-east North America, but raisins, lamb, cauliflower and labneh (to name a few) assert Chajar’s presence.

Chambre à Part

3619 Rue Saint-Denis, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2X 3L6 (438) 386-3619 Visit Website

Laurea

381 avenue Laurier Ouest, Montreal, Quebec H2V 2K3 (514) 507-4997 Visit Website

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