Two months after its grocery store experiment, Épicerie Fardoche, was shelved, Société-Orignal, a purveyor of terroir products from Quebec that sold to star chefs and restaurants in Montreal, Toronto, New York, and beyond, has decided to close. Owners Cyril Gonzales and Alex Cruz made the announcement on social media today. Here's the official, unedited statement.
After five years of hard work, the time has come for Société-Orignal to close its doors.
The last five years have allowed us to meet extraordinary characters and despite our bias, proved that Quebec agriculture has nothing to envy the rest of the world, and that the North American food scene is led by diligent, ambitious and extraordinary teams. Above all else, Société Orignal wanted to emphasize the irreplaceable work of Quebec farming families in this food discourse. We wanted to be a bright beast, noble and proud, able to face anything.
Now, the time has come to remain true to our original values, and accept that we are no longer the best vehicle to further the interests of the people we work with. We must evolve.
We want to take the time to say a big, honest thank you to all of our clients : the restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and our fans. The last five years and this hard decision have made us better entrepreneurs, but also confirmed our deep conviction that we must continue to invest in our North American territory by proposing projects with a clear identity that challenge the status quo, and against all reason, give us hope.
So, after this week, Société Orignal will close its doors. Time for us to spit in our hands and start working on something once again.
Thomas Keller and Eric Ripert were among the luminary chefs who used and lauded Société-Orignal's products. Enticed by the potential of the New York market, the company opened an office in Brooklyn in February 2014. In True North, the 2015 cookbook from Maison Publique's Derek Dammann and food writer Chris Johns, the company was referred to as "one of the coolest culinary projects not just in Canada but in the world." Gonzales and Cruz "seek out the finest, nearly forgotten or underutilized ingredients and give them the attention they deserve," wrote Johns. "The passion and dedication of Alex and Cyril and the quality of Société-Orignal’s products are emblematic of everything good that’s happening in Canada’s food scene today."
Société-Orignal's products "honour the province’s rich terroir," wrote Susan Schwartz in the Montreal Gazette in 2014. "— and they are making a big splash at high-end restaurants such as Toqué! and Maison Boulud here in Montreal and at Eleven Madison Park, Per Se, Daniel and Jean-Georges in New York City. Smaller chef-owned Montreal establishments such as Lawrence and Icehouse, where they are meticulous about ingredients, also turn to them." Eater has contacted Gonzales and Cruz to find out more about the fate of the company's products, suppliers, and employees — stay tuned.