Martin Picard: A Real Gem
I'll preface this by saying that this post should have been written a few months ago...
I was lucky enough to snag tickets to Martin Picard's cooking class at his Cabane Au Sucre towards the end of the sugar shack season. The tickets were a gift for my husband, and being a vegetarian I had no idea what to expect.
If you get a chance, take this class next year. You'll learn a lot, there are a bunch of veggie-friendly dessert options (demonstrations and all), and the whole experience is lots of fun (made even more fun by constant cocktails!). While everything about my cooking course experience was great, what I really want to write a quick note about is Martin Picard.
It may seem strange that a vegetarian has anything nice to say about the one man who serves more pig products than any other restaurant in the province. But, Martin Picard is a real down-to-earth gem.
The man is kind, sweet, patient, and even a bit bashful. For a chef who runs a restaurant frequented by the likes of Anthony Bourdain and other great chefs, Martin Picard is proof that success doesn't have to change a person.
Some like him for his food and his wacky cooking show, but this vegetarian likes Martin Picard for his stellar personality.
I also took the cooking course at his Cabane Au Sucre, and I also agree that Martin Picard is a gem. At the end of the course, I asked him when he was going to open his APDC prepared food store, and responded back with saying "no more big projects for now, it's time for a rest and some family time."
Originally I was not going to post in this topic as I never really saw the fuss or big deal about Martin Picard or his restaurant. His food never really appealed to me and I never made an effort to secure a res at one of his restaurants. A visit from my wife's parents and the birthday of my brother in law prompted me to make a res at APdC as I wanted to give them a taste of over the top, unbashedly Quebecois cuisine. After my meal last night I declare with much embarressment that I eat all the negative words I may have uttered since first hearing of the restaurant or the chef. The food, although the style is not quite my cup of tea, is great and a celebration of pork, foie gras, and duck. Service was equally impressive with a laid back vibe but still just formal enough to remind you that this isn't a typical restaurant. The only negatives of this evening? Service may have been a bit slow and the noise level is just insane. No fault to the restaurant though when it is constantly packed with people enjoying themselves I suppose. Picard I realize is following a vision that is commendable in its execution. Reminds me of those Dos Equis commercials: I don't often eat like this but when I do I would eat at APdC.
Picard was in the house last night. He strolled through the restaurant shaking hands and kissing cheeks. We did get to meet him and as I shook his hands I commented to my wife how soft they were (compared to my calloused mitts). She said it must be from all the pork fat and foie gras. He was a very nice man and gave the birthday boy a big hug and glass of champagne on the house. My brother in-law who prefers quiet places with food of much less splendor and refinement instantly changed his opinion of the food and of the restaurant. And that fellow CHers is the power of a great chef. He turned myself, I admit that at times I hold several unjust and undeserved prejudices, and my brother in-law, who would have much rather have celebrated at a Baton Rouge, into fans.
I think vegetarian or not one can respect Martin's principles of food and cooking. Although he pushes for gluttony, he recruits this (even Foie gras) via the must humaine practitioners. And based on what I know from the APDC album and his restaurant, he certainly encourages one to understand where meat comes from: do it yourself, eat everything, and waste nothing. And this isn't even new-agey PC bullshit, just an understanding of efficiency and flavours.
Good post (yours, not mine)
Thanks! It's not often you get reviews on the actual teacher then the food. Having taken classes myself (not Martin Picard's though) i fully understand how the teacher can MAKE the class. from his explanation to his attention to how comfortable he makes the experience.
I might look into taking a class with him next year :)