Last spring, Spacing Montreal, Avenue 8, and the CCA co-organized A Taste for Montreal, an event exploring the intersection of food and urbanism in our city. During his keynote speech, chef Normand Laprise (of Toqué! fame) called for more food in public spaces, and specifically for a restaurant in the Mount Royal chalet that would make this place a true destination.
We thought that it was a great idea so we ran an open letter in La Presse today advocating that the chalet be reanimated with food as a new focal point.
The Kondiaronk Belvedere is one of Montreal’s great attractions for tourists and locals alike, with it’s sweeping view of the city, the fleuve Saint-Laurent and the region beyond. But if you’re in search of something to eat after ascending to this summit you’ll be sorely disappointed: the beautiful 1930s chalet that flanks the lookout offers nothing but a row of vending machines by way of sustenance.
While the lookout welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year, it’s still off the beaten track – far removed from the busting city, in an environment that is transformed with the seasons. We fully recognize that sustaining a restaurant in these conditions would be no easy task.
That’s why we are proposing an innovative concept adapted to the unique characteristics of this place: a gastronomic infrastructure at the service of the Montreal community. Simply install a kitchen and open it to a variety of ephemeral gastronomic projects throughout the year. Similar to “artists in residence,” local and visiting chefs could come in and test out new menus. New talents could use this venue to make their big entrance into the Montreal foodie scene, and local organizations could host benefits and activities in the space.
It seems fitting that an iconic Montreal landmark become a showcase for local talent, local products, and the exploration and reinvention of our food culture. And the prospect of a sharing a meal would surely draw more Montrealers into this exceptional place between the city skyline and the forest.
We were thrilled when François Cardinal and Radio-Canada picked up the Chalet Gastronomique. Let us know what you think in the comments section – lets get some momentum building for this project!