Laurea, the 2014 makeover of the defunct Laurier BBQ from Rebecca Bourque, Jeff Stinco, Éric Lefrançois, and Cindy Simard, lost its inaugural chef last summer when Hakim Chajar left to pursue other projects. Months later, a suitable replacement has been found. After a ten day hiatus, Laurea is back with a new chef, Eloi Dion, in the kitchen. Dion last cooked at another Stinco affiliated restaurant, Old Montreal wine bar Mimi la Nuit, and was chef for a time at Van Horne in Outremont. Mimi la Nuit started 2016 with Ali El Garani as chef.
Dion offered some details about his new kitchen stint. "Laurea is really a beautiful place. It was hard, with only ten days for testing, cleaning, restructuring, getting acquainted with a new team, all for our 'soft re-opening' on Friday with a group of 58, plus 40 à la carte, and 115 reservations on Saturday. It was madness! But rarely have I seen such a professional team."
De retour au boulot, avec une nouvelle équipe de aux commandes! Bon 1er service @ Eloi Dion & sa brigade! pic.twitter.com/5VBMnT3Jid— Restaurant Laurea (@RestoLaurea) February 5, 2016
When asked about menu changes, Dion divulged that he'd "changed everything. Eighteen new dishes, counting desserts. It was a big challenge to accomplish in ten days. One dish has, on average, three recipes to standardize. Customers seem very receptive and happy so far. But it's not quite at the level to satisfy my perfectionist side yet. Soon I'll attack our new bar and amuses bouches menu."