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The Finalists for Quebec’s Culinary Prize Are Here, With No Shortage of Montreal Contenders

New restaurants like Monarque and Elena are up for accolades

Les Lauriers/Official

The list of finalists for the second-ever Laurier awards (Quebec’s primary culinary prize) has been announced.

As with the inaugural Lauriers a year ago, there’s no shortage of Montreal representation among the finalists.

Seven out of ten Restaurant of the Year nominees are from Montreal, split between older establishments (Hoogan & Beaufort, Manitoba, Candide, Le Mousso), and new contenders (Elena, Mon Lapin, Monarque). Then, the Chef of the Year category puts forward a mixed bag of mostly established candidates — Marie-Fleur St-Pierre (of Villeray Spanish restaurant Méson), Olivier Perret (of Sofitel restaurant Renoir), Emma Cardarelli (for her work at new restaurant Elena, rather than Nora Gray), Marc-André Jetté (Hoogan & Beaufort), Simon Mathys (Manitoba), and John Winter Russell (Candide). See the full list of nominees below.

Some nominees could potentially win for the second year in a row: Lauriers founder Christine Plante confirmed to Eater that there’s no rule against repeat wins, as long as candidates are eligible. Village restaurant Le Mousso (Restaurant of the Year) and celebrity chef Ricardo (for the Laurier du Public, a “people’s choice” award) are two such candidates.

A sort of “Oscars for the food world” (or, “Quebec’s James Beard Awards”, if you prefer a more food-centric comparison), the Lauriers’ first outing was its awards ceremony in April 2018.

Last year, 15 awards were given by the nonprofit organization, covering much of the food chain from farm (producers and such) to table (restaurants and chefs), with Colombe St-Pierre of Chez-St-Pierre (in Bic, near Rimouski) taking out Chef of the Year, and Montreal’s Le Mousso nabbing Restaurant of the Year.

The voting structure for 2019 remains mostly the same, with a large brigade weighing in on nominations, and voting in part for the winners (the brigade increased in size from 500 last year to around 3,000 for 2019). That brigade vote is balanced out by the votes of an eight-member jury. This year, the jurors’ identities were revealed publicly, whereas last year, their identities remained a secret until the Lauriers ceremony.

The jurors for 2019 are all new — noted Montreal chef Stelio Perombelon is in charge, and several winners from the 2018 Lauriers join him, including Colombe St-Pierre, pastry chef Patrice Demers, and Anicet Desrochers (Miels d’Anicet). Jurors are their affiliated companies or restaurants are not eligible to win any awards.

The second edition of the Lauriers will take place at L’Arsenal art gallery in Little Burgundy on April 29. The very appropriate theme? Staff meal.

Restaurant of the Year

  • Battuto, Quebec City
  • Candide, Montreal
  • Côté Est, Kamouraska
  • Elena, Montreal
  • Faux Bergers, Baie-Saint-Paul
  • Hoogan et Beaufort, Montreal
  • Le Mousso, Montreal
  • Manitoba, Montreal
  • Monarque, Montreal
  • Mon Lapin, Montreal

Chef of the Year

  • Émile Tremblay, Faux Bergers (Baie-St-Paul)
  • Emma Cardarelli, Elena (Montreal)
  • John Winter Russell, Candide (Montreal)
  • Marc-André Jetté, Hoogan et Beaufort (Montreal)
  • Marie-Fleur St-Pierre, Mesón (Montreal)
  • Olivier Perret, Renoir (Montreal)
  • Pierre-Olivier Ferry, Jardins de Métis (Price)
  • Simon Mathys, Manitoba (Montreal)
  • Stéphane Modat, Restaurant Champlain (Quebec City)
  • Vincent Dion Lavallée, La Cabane d’à Côté (Mirabel)

Le Laurier du Public (“People’s Choice”)

  • Chuck Hughes (Le Bremner, Garde-Manger)
  • Daniel Vézina (Laurie Raphäel)
  • Jonathan Garnier
  • Josée Di Stasio
  • Louis-François Marcotte
  • Martin Juneau (Pastaga, Cul-Sec)
  • Martin Picard (Au Pied de Cochon)
  • Normand Laprise (Toqué)
  • Ricardo
  • Stefano Faita (Impasto, Gema)

Révelation de l’Année (for up-and-coming chefs)

  • Benjamin Mauroy-Langlais, Le Petit Mousso (Montreal)
  • Gabriel Drapeau, McKiernan Luncheonette (Montreal)
  • Jérémie Conan, Hoogan et Beaufort (Montreal)
  • Jessica Noël, Mon Lapin (Montreal)
  • Valentin Rouyé, Hoogan et Beaufort (Montreal)

Sommelier of the Year

  • Carl Villeneuve Lepage, Toqué (Montreal)
  • Emily Campeau, Candide (Montreal)
  • Vanya Filipovic, Le Vin Papillon (Montreal)
  • Véronique Dalle, Moleskine (Montreal)
  • Véronique Rivest, Soif Bar à Vin (Gatineau)

Pastry Chef of the Year

  • Ariane Maurice, Pâtisserie Bicyclette (Montreal)
  • Daniel Mongraw, Confetti Café & Glaces (Montreal)
  • Gabrielle Rivard-Hiller, La Cabane sur le Roc (St-Joseph-du-Lac)
  • Paul Croteau, Battuto (Quebec City)
  • Stéphanie Labelle, Pâtisserie Rhubarbe (Montreal)

Baker of the Year

  • Albert Elbilia, Boulangerie Merci la Vie (Prévost)
  • Jeffrey Finkelstein, Hof Kelsten (Montreal)
  • Jochen Niemand, Boulangerie Niemand (Kamouraska)
  • Martin Falardeau, La Meunerie Urbaine (Montreal)
  • Seth Gabrielse et Julien Roy, Automne Boulangerie (Montreal)

Mixologist or Bartender of the Year

  • Emile Archambault, Le Petit Mousso (Montreal)
  • Fanny Gauthier, Ateliers & Saveurs (Montreal; culinary school)
  • Julien Vézina, Hono Izakaya (Quebec City)
  • Kate Boushel, Atwater Cocktail Club (Montreal)
  • Manu Ruiz, Le Royal (Montreal)

Server of the Year

  • Ariane Lacombe, Le Réservoir (Montreal)
  • Arielle Bernard et Mélanie Blanchette, Bouillon Bilk (Montreal)
  • Denis Lessard, Le Serpent (Montreal)
  • Pascal Bussières, Battuto (Quebec City)
  • Rolande Leclerc, Restaurant Initiale (Quebec City)

Food Truck of the Year

  • Crémy (Montreal)
  • Das Food Truck (Montreal)
  • El Gordito (Quebec City)
  • Grumman 78 (Montreal)
  • Mi Corazón (Montreal)

For further categories including producer and tourism prizes, see the Lauriers’ website.