As an ode to vegetarian cuisine as gastronomic and a sound choice in one’s diet, marketing director at Vins Balthazard (Wines), Sandrine Balthazard and epicurian, wine fiend and magazine Santé Inc‘s editor-in-chief Julien Martel gathered their skills and visions towards the conception of recipe book Pas besoin d’être végé pour aimer ce livre (engl.: No need to be a veggie to love this book) – the very concretization of this ode.
Many may argue that vegetarian cuisine is bereft of enough protein, nutrients and calories to keep one’s body healthy, or the class to relate the word ‘art’ to its cooking. Well argue no more, as this book is THE antithesis. 35 chefs from Montreal and Quebec City were invited to conceive two to three vegetarian gourmet recipes worthy enough to positively mute the finest meat-loving palettes. Additionally, each dish is strategically accompanied by a choice of wine selected by one of the world’s top 12 sommelier, Quebec’s own Elyse Lambert. The photographs were skillfully and beautifully shot by Jean-François Hétu who captured the chefs within the dynamic of their restaurant’s kitchen.
April 4th marked the official launch of Pas besoin d’être végé at Old Montreal event venue Le 4e, hosted by Apollo Agency. Many of the 35 chefs featured in the book attended the event such as Louis-François Marcotte of Le Hangar, Marc-André Lavergne of Accords, Michael Oliphant of Le Gourmand, and Marie-Fleur Saint-Pierre of tapas bar Tapeo. Some personalities, such as ex-Hab George Laracque, co-owner of vegan eatery Crudessence and Chantal Fontaine (of Quebec TV serie Virginie), co-owner of Accords were of attendance. To add fun to the evening, each chef was given a black marker to autograph the books of the guests’ own copy.
What about the recipes? Though made to be tried by practically anybody, most recipes requires skillful cooking hands. But with a of zest of concentration, a tablespoon of time, a cup of dedication and a bucketful of passion for cooking, one can easily go about the recipes of this book. As I did. After briefly speaking with Marc-André Lavergne of restaurant Accords and how he extrapolated on the business of restauration as a chef and how he goes about selecting the ingredients found on the menu, I knew that I would try one of his recipes first. As I did. I made the eggplant terrine with purée of cauliflower and wild mushrooms. I definitely enjoyed what I made, however believe that a second try will be much better – enough to make me want to discover Lavergne’s restaurant, the menu, the ambiance… which I did.