In the wake of the pandemic Montréal en Lumière satisfies everyone’s taste
Like virtually every other festival impacted by the never-ending COVID-19 pandemic, Montréal en Lumière has managed to continue onwards this year by making some adjustments to correspond with safety measures in place.
Since its beginning in 2000 over 600 special guests from the culinary world from over 20 countries have come to celebrate the best of what Quebec gastronomy has to offer: its chefs, producers, artisans, and culinary culture. During the Festival, the Quartier des Spectacles and its Place des Festivals—the headquarters of downtown celebrations— generally become the essential winter destination, offering a wide range of free activities for all.
Fast forward to 2021 and presented in collaboration with Casino de Montréal, this year’s edition offers an unprecedented, panoramic view of the different gastronomic branches of the incredibly creative culinary ecosystem here in Quebec.
Marina Orsini’s J’adore mon resto campaign
I was pleased to reach out to my favorite Quebec actress and media personality Marina Orsini. She is serving as the spokesperson for the campaign J’adore mon resto, affiliated with Montreal en Lumière!
“I am very proud to be part this important cause and campaign,” Marina told me. “There are 20, 000 restaurants in Quebec and over 230,000 jobs. That represents billions of dollars in salaries and local production.
Marina said that by hosting five chefs on her popular Radio Canada television program called Dans Ma Cuisine, has really made her understand what the pandemic has done. “Letting go of their team and being able to pay the rent which is crazy,” she said. “They were obliged to change the seating arrangements by investing a lot of money, then being locked down. These people have been in survivor mode for the past year. Many have closed and gone bankrupt. Even if some of them can open now, it’s almost impossible because they’ve been on standby for so long and they have to rebuild their staff!”
Marina hopes that the J’adore Mon resto campaign wants to inspire people to help them by opting for take-out or delivery. “At the least, put them on your social media!” she implores. “Expose your favourite places to eat everywhere in Quebec, not just in Montreal. Why not across the country as well?”
Chez Alexandre leads the way
You can find all of the participating restaurants and hotels that are partnering with the festival this year on the festival website. The dining options, of course, are all in place via take-out and delivery with some very tasty options.
I could not have been happier than to drop by Chez Alexandre et fils, downtown. It continues to open at 11:30 am each day, meaning you can order from lunchtime to past dinner hour.
Chez Alexandre is a place full of history which offers the best of the French gastronomic tradition combined with a solid wine and champagne list.
In 1977 Alain Creton and his brother Yvon opened the first French brewery in Montreal. A year later they broke ground by becoming the first restaurant to hire women in Montreal in their bar. Alain Creton made headlines again in 1980 by championing the closure of Peel Street to host the Formula 1 Grand Prix Festival. It did not take long for him to become the president of the Peel Street Merchants. A decade later he added the presidency of the first Société de Développement Economique du Centre Ville de Montréal, under the mandate of then Mayor Jean Doré. Alain even has the distinction of being awarded the Honorary Order of Agricultural Merit by the French government for the consistency of his French cuisine.