On Thursday The Montreal Gazette ran an article about the new restaurant at the Casino de Montréal: L’Atelier Montréal de Joël Robuchon. Robuchon is a much decorated and world-renowned chef, including 28 Michelin stars. Evidently the gastronomic scene in Canada is about to be stood on its head. Will it be able to keep up?
The money spent on the preparation of the new restaurant is certainly nothing to sneeze at. But I would ask detractors to bear in mind the daily profit realized by the Casino de Montréal and understand that this is but a drop in the bucket.
In fairness I must come clean and admit that I write this from the perspective of one who believes longtime mayor Jean Drapeau had the right idea. Having enjoyed as a young boy EXPO 67 and as an adolescent the 1976 Summer Olympics,I thought at last a world class establishment in Montreal, just in time for the city’s 375th anniversary.
While driving home from work on Thursday I heard Montreal Gazette restaurant critic Lesley Chesterman on the radio. She made the point that perhaps it would be more appropriate to have a local chef in the spotlight instead of Chef Robuchon. Maîtres chez nous as she mentioned. That is all fine and dandy, but do we have a local chef with 28 Michelin stars? Perhaps the Montreal Canadiens should abandon scouting in Europe and stick to local kids, regardless of skill level, a few lads playing shinny, but from here would be better. I agree with Ms Chesterman that a Schwartz’s outlet at the Casino would be great, but not necessarily as a main attraction.
As we approach our city’s 375th birthday I hope that this single step will lead to many more that will restore Montreal’s status to its once significant position on the world stage. It has been far too long without this recognition, and subsequent tourist-dollar input. But alas I fear next year’s anniversary activities will be hamstrung by bean counters.