montreal seasonal dinners saisons © Will Travel for Food

The winter editions of SAISONS inside Le Salon 1861 venue in Little Burgundy {photo © Jean-François Frenette}

A few months ago, I was announcing my new project SAISONS on this very blog. Since then, my partner Janice and I have had our first fall edition at the Jean Talon Market back in October inside the Birri Brothers’ stall. The table was decorated with gourds and pumpkins and the 12 guests were surrounded by a bounty of fall produce. Chef John Winter Russell created a delicious 6-course menu using regional products and the opulence of the harvest season. Our first guests were delighted with the magical evening that ended up in new friendships being forged, which is one of the reasons I started SAISONS in the first place.

In case you’ve missed it, we’ve also had a great article by Susan Semenak in The Montreal Gazette (thank you Susan!) which has been a great catalyst in catapulting us into the (modest) limelight. We’re so excited to see that a lot of people seem to be interested in experiencing a SAISONS dinner!

However, I am here today to tell you all about our winter edition of SAISONS, which took place on February 8th, 2016 with chef Jonathan Lapierre-Rehayem, who helms the kitchen at Laloux. The venue this time around was Le Salon 1861, a new, breathtaking event space located inside the old St-Joseph church in Little Burgundy. It was quite an experience to take over this impressive space for an evening and set up the SAISONS winter table in the middle of the church and its 30 foot ceiling.

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The cheese course by chef Jonathan Lapierre-Rehayem {photo © Jean-François Frenette}

Chef Jonathan Lapierre-Rehayem created a 6-course menu for the evening using local and seasonal products, proof that one can be creative with Quebec ingredients even in the dead of the winter season. Here’s what the guests enjoyed that night:

Carrot, sea buckthorn, kale chips

1st course
Ocean Wise salmon, aïoli, watercress, celery root, Juniper berries

2nd course
Sea lettuce fettuccine, black trumpet mushrooms, onion powder, puffed rice

Sweetbreads poached in honey, beets

Mascarpone, hemp, pear and hay compote, flax seed cracker

Irish moss panna cotta, honeycomb, sweet clover, apple sorbet

saisons seasonal dinners montreal © Will Travel for Food

The dessert course served with fresh honeycomb {photo © Jean-François Frenette}

Just in case you are not familiar with the SAISONS concept yet, here’s how it works:
Each season, a chef is invited to explore his favourite ingredients through his cooking. Each event’s multi-course menu will highlight what’s in season in and around Québec at that time of year and feature foraged ingredients, along with unique products from local producers and growers who share the SAISONS philosophy.

You bring the wine, and we’ll take care of the rest!

The concept is simple. You purchase your ticket in advance, which reserves your seat(s) at the SAISONS dinner table. A couple of weeks before the event, we will email you a flavour profile for one of the dishes on the menu so that you can shop for a fabulous wine to pair with that dish. The day of the dinner, bring your bottle of wine to share with the other guests, and when your dish is being served, you will be asked to describe and present your wine to the other guests attending so that they can understand the pairing. We don’t expect you to be a professional sommelier so don’t worry too much about your wine choose. You can ask an SAQ vendor for recommendations. This is supposed to be fun! Our aim is to surprise, teach and inspire our guests with great food and a few surprises.

What makes SAISONS so different, you ask? Our focus will be to highlight chefs and purveyors who work relentlessly to shine a spotlight on our unique made-in-Quebec products and ingredients. In addition, the SAISONS events will always be intimate gatherings set in unusual locations.

saisons dinners montreal © Will Travel for Food

Our partners Miels d’Anicet and Atelier Carmel {photo © Jean-François Frenette}

February 8th, 2016
Chef: Jonathan Lapierre-Rehayem
Partners: Atelier Carmel / Miels d’Anicet / Gaspésie Sauvage Produits Forestiers / Wild Gaspé Forest Products. / Restaurant Candide
Venue: Le Salon 1861

There are more outstanding photos of this event by the very talented Jean-François Frenette on our Facebook page.

montreal saisons private dinners © Will Travel for Food

Small table, big church at our second SAISONS event at Le Salon 1861 {photo © Jean-François Frenette}

Useful information:

Read more about the SAISONS events on the website.

Seating is limited to 12 to 14 guests per dinner and the location will be revealed a few days before the event.

The spring SAISONS event with chef Marc-Alexandre Mercier of Hotel Herman is already sold out. The summer one with chef Colin Perry of Dinette Triple Crown is happening sometime in the month of August. We don’t have an exact date yet but if you’d like to attend, please email us at [email protected]. We hope to see you at a SAISONS event soon!

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