Montréal En Lumière will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with an increased focus on fine dining with international guest chefs hosted by their Montreal counterparts, plus fun for all ages at Place des Festivals.

Introduced twenty years ago by Alain Simard, co-founder and then-President of the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Montréal En Lumière was designed to be a mid-winter celebration with a focus on gourmet cuisine and entertainment. As producers for the world’s largest and most successful jazz festival, the company already had the organizational skills and international contacts needed to organize and stage another festival.

Montréal En Lumière has grown to become a major 10-day celebration with more than a million attendees, including visitors to Montreal. There are outdoor events for the whole family at Place des Festivals and culinary events at 40-plus Montreal restaurants. From the outset, festival organizers have invited chefs from around the world to come to Montreal and partner with local restaurateurs; and this tradition continues on an even larger scale.

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Alain’s vision to introduce a winter festival, the culinary aspect of Montréal En Lumiere has been expanded and will feature more restaurants, wine tours, foodie conferences and tastings. Notes festival President, Jacques-André Dupont; “… We’ve created a unique meeting place for our 20th Anniversary; the all-new Quartier Gourmand at the Maison du Festival. Two floors of celebrating food and fine dining, where new ideas and discoveries are constantly cooking. Many exciting workshops, conferences, tastings, and talks are on the program. During the entire festival, The Quartier Gourmand will be the hub of culinary trends from here and abroad, a place where knowledge and flavour are in plentiful supply.”

Jacques-André continues; “The 45 Air France Finest Tables will form the heart and soul of this event will join in celebrating this milestone edition with menus that are more creative and accessible than ever. Once again, this will be a unique opportunity to meet Montreal’s top chefs and their international guests; of course these will include many fine chefs and winemakers, but you’ll also encounter brewers, distillers, artisans and producers from here and abroad.” Moreover, focusing on unique encounters between public figures and exquisite menus, several special guests will participate in some of the Air France Finest Tables; Bïa — who will be hosted by Helena restaurant – as well as Ariane Moffatt and Gregory Charles (Casino de Montréal’s Le Montréal) are among them.

Montréal En Lumière brings together all these in a public event unique in the world, it’s the crème de la crème of Montreal This year, a new gourmet committee, made up among others of Philippe Mollé, Catherine Lessard, Élise Tastet, and six other people passionate about cuisine, a new gourmet orientation has been determined for the festival’ “celebrate, feast, create… Montreal-style”.

Some of the big exhibitions will take place indoors at Complex Desjardins, including the ever-popular Cheese Festival.

The Festival Of Our Cheeses, February 21 – 23

For its 13th edition, “the festival of our cheeses” will once again offer the opportunity to meet Quebec’s cheese makers. They will be happy to answer visitors’ questions and to talk about their creations and the regional specificities that give cheese its flavour and character. Visitors will be able to taste Quebec “classics” and discover new cheeses, in addition to accessing high-quality cheese at great prices. Presented by Fromages d’ici. February 21 to 23, Grande-Place du complexe Desjardins, Free admission. Also enjoy cheeses from here at a “Fondue” dinner where Québec artisan cheesemakers will be honored in the warm and cozy atmosphere of Auberge Saint-Gabriel on February 22 and 23.

Mondial Des Cidres 2019 Presented by SAQ, March 1 – 3

Following the cheese makes in Complexe Desjardins, The Mondial des cidres SAQ will take over the Grande-Place. Participants will learn more about local cider producers and to discover cider in all its variations: sparkling, sweet, dry, ice and flavored. There tastings, contests, gourmet stations and theme nights.

From February 21 to March 3, in partnership with our 45 participating Air France Finest Tables, of which four partners have been teaming up with the festival for 20 years: Au Petit Extra, La Chronique, Normand Laprise and Christine Lamarche; Montréal En Lumière offers an array of gourmet activities centered around a particularly rich theme: a journey around the world… and to the heart of our world!

The featured restaurants offer their gourmet dinners on specific evenings during the festival, and therefore it’s not too early to purchase your tickets to these popular dining events. Forty-five Air France Finest Tables offer gastronomic and winemaking dining experiences for all tastes and budgets. To plan a gourmet itinerary, just go the festival’s website: montrealenlumiere.com (Fine Dining tab). The participating restaurants include: Agrikol, Alexandre et Fils, Auberge Saint-Gabriel, Au Petit Extra, Bar George, Bistro Lustucru, Brasserie T !, Chez Chose, Candide, Chez Victoire, Christophe, État-Major, Europea, Ferreira Café, Graziella, H4C-Place St-Henri, Helena, Henri Brasserie Française, Hoogan et Beaufort, Ikanos, Kitchen Galerie, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, La Chronique, Le Blumenthal, Le Local, Le Chasse-Galerie, Le Margaux, Le Montréal, Le Mousso, Le Petit Mousso, Le Quartier Général, Le Valois, Leméac, Maison Boulud, Nom Nom Cantine (W Montreal’s restaurant), Portus 360, Radicelle, Renoir, Restaurant de l’ITHQ, Restaurant Manitoba, Restaurant Pastel, Rosélys, La Société des arts technologiques (Labo culinaire Foodlab and Café SAT), and Vertige. Please remember that the Air France Finest Tables greatly appreciate that festival goers honor their reservations.

Here are some suggestions for readers of The Montrealer.

Montréal En Lumière

Rosélys chefs Maxime Delmont,
Baptiste Peupion, Jean-Marc Guillo

Rosélys

Located in Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel, this bistro-style restaurant was an instant success when the hotel re-opened after a year-long renovation. Rosélys will offer, for its first participation to Montréal En Lumière, a menu prepared by chefs Maxime Delmont, Baptiste Peupion and pastry chef Jean-Marc Guillot; three Frenchmen who have proven their worth in the kitchens of great restaurants around the world. 900 Boul. Rene Levesque Ouest, 514-954-2261. Restaurantroselys.com

Le Blumenthal

Located in the Maison de Festival headquarters, Le Blumenthal and Chef Kevin Bouchard will be at the heart of Montréal En Lumière. Overlooking the outdoor site, Le Blumenthal will offer a menu of fresh, local ingredients throughout the festival. Daily from February 21 to March 3. 305 Sainte-Catherine Ouest, 514-288-5992. Leblumenthal.ca

Montréal En Lumière

Auberge Saint Gabriel
Chef Ola Claesson

Auberge Saint-Gabriel

Chef Ola Claesson will welcome Daniel Eddy to show his love for French cuisine, while honoring his Nicaraguan roots. Eddy worked at the famous Spring restaurant in Paris before returning to New York and the Philadelphia, where he is the Executive Chef at the Walnut Street Café.  February 27 and 28 from 6:30.  $75 without wine, $120 with wines; plus taxes and service.   426 rue Saint-Gabriel, 514-878-3561 aubergesaint-gabriel.com

Montréal En Lumière

Ferreira Café
Chef João Dias

Ferreira Café

Chef Joao Dias welcomes the Portugese legendary chef and owner, Justa Nobre from her award-winning restaurant O Nobre in Lisbon, which she has owned and operated for thirty years. Ms. Nobre has been awarded the Medal Of Honour by the Association of Portugese Hoel & Catering. February 27 and 28 from 6pm. Five course dinner, $95 without wine; $160 with wines, plus taxes and service. 1446 rue Peel, 514-848-0988 ferreiracafe.com

Bar George

Chef de Cuisine Kevin Ramasawmy will welcome Icelandic Chef Viktor Orn Andrésson, who will prepare a four course Iclandic dinner of langoustine, lamb and Skyr. The Bar George staff will also be setting up and outdoor ice bar on the terrace, where you can huddle up under furs and enjoy mulled wine or your soon-to-be favourite cocktails. February 23 and 24 from 6pm. $92 before wine, of $155 with wines. Taxes and service are additional.  Le Mount Stephen, 1440 rue Drummond, 514-669-9243  bargeorge.ca

Montréal En Lumière

Chef and Owner of Helena,
Helena Loureiro

Helena

Chef and Owner Helena Loureiro will welcome the Brazillian singer Bia for a special evening fine dining, music and wine. February 27 from 5:30pm. $80 without wine, $120 with wines. Taxes and service are additional. 438 rue McGill, 514-878-1555. restauranthelena.com

Maison Boulud

Chefs Riccardo Bertolino and proprietor Daniel Boulud will welcome Panamanian Chef Andres Morataya from the renowned restaurant Panga in Panama. Hotel Ritz Carlton, 1228 Sherbrooke St. West, 514-842-4224 maisonboulud.com  February 28 and March 1 from 6pm. March 2 from 12 noon to 2:30pm.  $175, 5-course menu before wine (tax and tip not included) $295, 5 -course menu including wine (tax and tip not included)

Montréal En Lumière

Graziella owner,
Chef Graziella Battista

Graziella 

Chef and owner Graziella Battista will salute the Italian cuisine of Tuscany with her guest, Chef Sonia Visman of Albergaccio di Castellina in the Chianti region, where she has earned a Michelin star for the restaurant. Wine producers Michele Satta, producer of Bolgheri; and Alessandro Cellai, producer of Castellare di Castellina: Podere Monatero and Roca di Frassinello Estates will join in the festivities to introduce their wines. February 21 and 22 from 6:30pm. $250 includes wines. Taxes and service are additional.  166 rue McGill, 514-876-0116 restaurantgraziella.ca

Montréal En Lumière

L’Atelier Joel Robuchon –
Chef Jean-Pierre Curtat

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon – Casino de Montréal

L’Atelier Chef Jean-Pierre Curtat will welcome Eric Bouchenoire, the long-time friend of the late Chef Joel Robuchon will assist in the preparation of a gourmet meal, complemented by Veuve Cloquo champagnes, introduced by the company’s Cellar Master, Dominique Demarville. This promises to be one of the ‘big nights’ during the festival. February 27 and 28 from 6pm. $425 includes a six course meal with an array of champagnes (note the plural). Taxes and service are additional. 1 Avenue du Casino, 514-392-2781 casino.lotoquebec.com

Also at le Casino, Guest Chef Gregory Charles will be cooking up a musical storm with his host Chef Jean-Pierre Curtat. The menu will include a musical performance by the irrepressible Charles. Thursday, February 21 from 6:30pm. $68 for a four course dinner. Wine, taxes and service are additional.

Singer songwriter Arianne Moffatt will be performing and cooking on Wednesday, February 27. $68 for a four course meal. Wine, taxes and service at additional.

Montréal En Lumière

Chef Eric Lecerf et Alain Creton of
Alexandre & Fils

Alexandre et Fils

A perennial Peel Street favourite, owner Alain Creton and Chef Eric Lecerf will host six exciting culinary events during the festival. They will welcome Yann Roncier, chef and owner of Mon Bistrot in Boulogne-Billancourt to prepare refined cuisine. Chef Roncier has an impressive resume, including working for ten years at the late Johnny Hallyday’s restaurant, Le Balzac.  February 22 and 23, from 6pm. $60 for a 5 course menu. Wine, taxes and tips are additional.

Champagne producer Piper-Heidsieck will host a 5 a 7 three champagne tasting. Each participant will have a glass of Piper Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck and Piper Riviera; complemented by hors d’oeuvres prepared by Eric Lecerf and Christian Faure. $45 plus taxes and service. Thursdays February 21 and 28 from 5 to 7pm. 1454 rue Peel, 514-288-5105 chezalexandre.com

Still at Alexandre & Fils, Chef Eric Lecerf and Pastry Chef Christian Faure will display their extensive experience in France and Montreal to prepare a five course dinner that will be one of the festival’s highlights. March 1 and 2, from 6pm. $60 plus wine, taxes and service.

For its 20th edition, not only will the world’s gastronomic experts meet in Montreal, but local producers and artisans will also be honored. And since a 20th Anniversary is a perfect opportunity to celebrate, a host of novelties await festival goers who will feast on a deliciously eclectic gastronomic program, in addition to being able to attend three electrifying concerts.

Forty-five international chefs will visit and prepare gourmet meals in the kitchens of their Montreal culinary hosts.

The Festival’s web site provides a wealth of user-friendly information about the forty-five participating restaurants, cooking demonstrations, and outdoor events. www.montrealenlumiere.com Enjoy!