When the restaurant opened in late November 2015, founder John Winter Russell had gone straight for the reserves. The winter had not been easy, under the sign of edible roots. But the leader recovered the following summer and fall, and all subsequent years. Candide has become one of the first and rare 100% locavore tables in Montreal (with the exception of part of the wine list), even at the height of the cold season, and a reference in the matter. Yes, by being very far-sighted and creative, we can feed exclusively on our food from here all year round. This was the demonstration that the leader wanted to make.

Today, Angèle Gauthier and Joanne Geha, the former sous-chefs who have become chefs, have taken over the cooking and conservation, while their boss is enjoying a well-deserved sabbatical.

“Last summer, we knew John wouldn’t be there, so we really gave it our all. We were afraid of running out of reserves. But we still have pears, quinces, tomato sauce, among others. It’s better to have too much than not enough,” says Angèle, who arrived in the church basement kitchen for her ITHQ internship in 2018 and never left!

Imagine the workload, in the middle of the high season: in addition to having to set up and cook for around sixty people, five evenings a week, the team has to work extra hard to transform everything for the season. lean. First come fiddleheads, rhubarb, asparagus, chive flowers, then there are the first strawberries (from June to September, Candide receives 50 kg per week), radishes, zucchini, leeks and finally tomatoes, beans, peppers, pears, Ontario apricots, quinces, to name a few.

Today, the average person no longer preserves to survive the winter, as in the “old days”. He does this to make the most of the summer and fall abundance, to eat better while spending less, to “buy local”, above all to enjoy himself! Preserves have therefore gained in popularity, but also, if not above all, in originality.

Restaurants that pride themselves on practicing locavore cuisine cannot help but put in pots and in the cellar. Quebec chefs have armed themselves with dehydrators, cellars, freezers and other autoclaves.

“At Candide, we do things pretty much like people would at home. We don’t have an autoclave. Sometimes people are afraid to make cans because of the risk of contamination or the pot exploding,” says Angèle.

The management of losses and the fight against food waste are taken into account in the conservation plan of the Little Burgundy restaurant. “We do a lot of zero-waste processing,” says Joanne. Strawberry is all used up. The stems and the cap are macerated to make a water which is used afterwards to rehydrate the fruits. »

There are also all those beautiful asparagus tails that, instead of going into the soup (or straight into the compost), are put in pots with oil, to be added to salads for the cold season.

Among Candide’s favorite preserves are the famous salted cherry tomatoes, daisy buds like capers, dehydrated zucchini and apricots. Joanne is already salivating thinking about the delicious stone fruit ice cream she prepares with her precious food when many other chefs are struggling to find a little freshness to serve as dessert to their customers. The little working ant always wins!

If you live in Montreal, learn how to identify serviceberry. The tree is abundant in a host of public places and its fruit is delicious, especially in jam. Anyway, towards the end of June, walk around with an empty container in your bag and do some urban foraging (not on private land, unless you ask permission!). Plus, it’s free !

When all the water is removed from them, corn kernels become really tiny! Just one mason jar and you’ll have enough for your soups and stews all winter long.

“We dehydrate the baby ginger from Quebec and make vinegar with the ginger leaves. We also sometimes dehydrate the ginger leaves that we put into powder to make our ginger ice cream in winter. Turmeric and its leaves are also underutilized. It’s very aromatic,” reveals Joanne Geha of Candide.

Think of fruit leathers, which you make from a puree. Children love it. Seedman Patrice Fortier (check out the article on the next screen) even makes tomato hides. “You can eat them as a snack, but they also act as a flavor concentrate when you dilute them like a bouillon cube. »

“Sometimes we rehydrate fruit in the juices of other fruits,” Joanne reveals.

Rehydrated strawberries can be used in many simple preparations: lightly warmed as an accompaniment to cake and whipped cream, as a base for sorbet or ice cream, stewed with granola or with a crumbled cookie.

All you can eat strawberries!

You can use this vegetable in a fresh herbaceous gremolata-style salad (asparagus, basil, chopped chives, oil, vinegar, salt), a perfect accompaniment to white-fleshed fish, grilled lamb or pork.