Canada’s top young chefs share their ‘must-try local dishes’

Sep 18 2017, 10:15 pm

With Canada’s food scene thriving as it is from coast to coast, the abundance of good things to eat can seem overwhelming.

So to help us suss out the most worthwhile things to eat, Daily Hive asked ten of Canada’s top young chefs what’s good?

More specifically, we asked the ten chefs competing to represent Canada at the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 competition, what is the must-try local dish in your corner of Canada? Here’s how they answered:

Alessandro Bergamo
Sous Chef, Maison Boulud in Montréal

Le Mousso

Le Mousso/Facebook

In Montreal, I would start with brunch at Passé Composé which offers a gourmet and generous menu. My go-to item is their grilled cheese sandwich with duck confit and onions caramelized in dark beer.

For a date night, I go to Le Mousso for their typical Montreal feel and the high quality of the food. I loved their volaille with artichoke and caviar. To end the evening with a bang, why not try my favorite drink, the Americano, at local bar Le 4e mur!

Benjamin Mauroy-Langlais
Chef de Partie, Automne in Montréal


Marché Méli-Mélo Caraibe/Facebook

If you come to the North of Montreal (where I am from) you should eat griot, rice and pikliz, staples of Haitian cuisine. It’s marinated, braised and deep-fried pork with rice, plantain and spicy cabbage. It is fatty, tender crunchy acidic, spicy… I crave it right now!

We are lucky to have a large Haitian community in the North of Montreal. So much so that it is part of the food culture in Montreal and especially in my neighbourhood. Also, I like to eat at Marché Meli-Melo (old school) and Kwizinn (new kids).

Dominic Giroux
Chef de Partie, L’atelier de Joël Robuchon Montreal

La Gare poutine

La Gare/Facebook

The must-try local dish in Quebec would definitely be poutine! My favorite version of it is the breakfast poutine at La Gare in Labelle, Quebec – a small town near Mont-Tremblant. The potatoes are cooked in duck fat and the cheese is excellent, topped with hollandaise sauce, that what’s making it so great!

Jean-Philippe Cloutier
Sous Chef, Beckta Dining & Wine in Ottawa

Atelier ottawa


Being in Ottawa, you have to stop by Atelier and try their 12-course tasting menu. The last savoury dish is Koji aged beef. The beef gets coated in Koji and gets aged for a few days. It then gets cooked sous-vide then seared. There is a caramelized onion and roasted bone marrow sauce poured table side. There is also a black pepper jam, duck fat confit celeriac, acidulated apricots, green beans, goji, olive plant and crispy perforated nori.

The koji gives the meat an awesome funky, nutty, earthy, unami flavor. This dish is awesome and it is a must-try in Ottawa.

Yoann Therer
Sous Chef, L’Abattoir in Vancouver

BC Spot prawns

Adam J Chan/Shutterstock

Fresh BC Spot prawns and Dungeness crabs would be my favourite local ingredient. Any good restaurant will have them when in season, but I would rather fish them myself and eat them with friends.

Oh Jun Kwon
Sous Chef, Omaw in Toronto

Rahier Patisserie croissant

Rahier Patisserie

Chocolate Croissant at Rahier Patisserie on Bayview Avenue. As the owner is European, the caramelization of baking is much deeper compared to North American croissants and the lamination of the pastry has been done very delicately. It is definitely world-class level in technique, and also with flavour.

Mark Classen
Sous Chef, Villa Eyrie Resort in Malahat

Part and Parcel falafel

Part and Parcel/Facebook

My favourite place to eat in town is Part and Parcel which is a locally owned restaurant that has a small menu that is constantly changing with the seasons and uses locally grown produce and meats. The menu is nice and simple with the highlight for me being the carrot falafel, although they also do a delicious sandwich.

Amanda Lambert
Commis, North 44 in Toronto

cafe boulud duck

Samantha Clarke/Cafe Boulud

Café Boulud at the Four Seasons in Toronto – the whole duck. It is fantastic. The legs are confit and melt in your mouth. The breasts cooked perfectly. Served with glazed apricots and sweet turnips, I would highly recommend this dish to any foodie.

Jorge-Munoz Santos
Chef, Bar Oso in Whistler

Araxi Restaurant oysters

Araxi Restaurant/Facebook

On the west coast of Canada, I would go for seafood and shellfish. I am a big fan of oysters and Araxi Restaurant & Oyster Bar has the best around.

John Ngo
Commis, Ritz Carlton Toronto 

Isabelle W./Yelp

My local go-to dish in my area is a Taiwanese dish. It’s simple but so good. It’s Taiwanese popcorn chicken and I get it at Tai Ping Hsiang BBQ in Markham. What makes it so good is that they use dark meat that is marinated then lightly fried and seasoned and the meat just stays really juicy.

Editor’s note: Answers have been edited for spelling and clarity.

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