1. Are you working more or less compared to this time last year?
I’m working differently. Luckily, we have a great clientele that continues to support us. The volume has increased. We’ve switched from a 24-seater to an endless amount of takeout. The city is our new dining room now.
2. How has your restaurant cooking changed since covid?
We’ve opted for more comforting Italian classics for takeout—meatballs, lasagnas and tiramisù—the kind of food we would love to take home. We continue to stay seasonal and fresh, of course.
3. How much cooking at home are you doing now compared to before?
A little more. It’s long braised and roasted kind of cooking. The house smells like Nonna’s.
4. What are your go-to home recipes?
There’s nothing like a good amatriciana or a beautiful green salad with way too much vinegar!
5. Have you been reading any cookbooks that you recommend?
I’ve been loving a recently published book called Forêt by Gérald [Le Gal] and Ariane Paré-Le Gal. It is a perfect hybrid of plant studies and recipes. It inspires me to learn more about wild edible plants that grow here in our beautiful forests [in Quebec].
6. Are you stocking your home fridge at local stores or relying on your restaurant suppliers?
Our suppliers make our success. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we haven’t stopped buying from them. We support each other and keep our micro-economy alive. I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s Birri and Nino for fruits and vegetables, La Mer for fish, Boucherie du Marché for meat, Fuoco for mozzarella.
7. Since covid, have you rediscovered any old cooking techniques that you’re obsessed with?
One-pot wonders. There’s something very satisfying with searing, steaming, infusing, poaching and more—all in the same pot or pan. The flavours layer up beautifully and the mix of techniques is quite satisfying.
8. If you aren’t cooking, what are you eating? Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Pizza remains my number one takeout. A delicious capricciosa or just a simple margherita really hits the spot. I’ve also increased my consumption of dried dates—don’t ask why. And soon the clementine madness will begin. I’m talking at least 15 clementines a day.
—RENÉE S. SUEN