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You Can Vote for the ‘Quebec Culinary Party’ This Election

Towards a “gastronocratique” society

Jean-Louis Thémis
Parti Culinaire du Québec/Facebook

Are you hoping for the restaurant and food worlds to have a louder voice in politics? Well, you could be in luck: a party dedicated to promoting the province’s gastronomy is running in the upcoming Quebec election, the Parti Culinaire du Québec (Quebec Culinary Party, or PCQ).

The PCQ is headed up by Jean-Louis Thémis (or Thémistocle, in full), a recently retired teacher from Quebec’s most prominent culinary school, the ITHQ, and a minor public figure. Among myriad projects, the chef (originally from Madagascar) opened one of the first Malagasy restaurants in North America, written a book on exotic fruits and vegetables, has been a spokesperson for supermarket chain Metro, founded a non-profit organization (Cuisiniers Sans Frontières) with his wife, and even recorded an album, featuring the song “Quand c’est noir, c’est cuit” (“When it’s black, it’s cooked”).

Now, add a political run to that list, as he pulled together the required signatures to register to run in the October 1 Quebec election.

According to Quebec City’s Le Soleil, Thémis is running on a platform of creating a “gastronocratic” society — one where food producers (i.e. farmers) would be widely respected. A key plank of his platform is to better educate about food: where it comes from, nutritional values, and so forth.

Posted by Parti Culinaire du Québec on Friday, September 7, 2018

While the party has no official website (just a Facebook page), and no full platform published, the party also seems to have a loosely environmental bent, with a particular focus on agriculture: “If a project threatens farmland or edible products, it should be forgotten immediately and moved on,” he told industry publication HRI. He also elaborated on potential policies to HRI: eliminating Quebec sales tax in “artisanal” restaurants, stopping overfishing, and improving meals served in schools, hospitals, and retirement homes.

Unfortunately, most Quebecers won’t be able to vote for Thémis’ party — according to Elections Quebec, the party is only running in one riding, where Thémis himself is the candidate. He’s running in Laurier-Dorion, which covers all of Parc-Extension and Villeray from its western boundary east to Papineau Avenue.

And while being on the ballot means Thémis is in the running for the October election, chefs hoping for representation in the National Assembly shouldn’t get their hopes up: either the Liberals or Québec Solidaire are projected to almost certainly take it home.