Over the Easter holidays I decided to head up to Montreal to visit a chef who I follow on Twitter, Michele Forgione of Osteria Venti. It turned out that my visit brought him another visitor, Chef and authour Sarah Jenkins of Pochetta in NYC.
My first day there, I also got to meet Michele's friend Marc Andre Cyr, someone else with whom I have corresponded with on Twitter. Marc and Michele both have encouraged me to see whats happening in the tight knit Montreal cooking community in Montreal. Their suggestion yielded rewards, letting me meet a community of dedicated and disciplined culinarians, cooking with esprit.
Michele comes from Puglian stock, a proud Italian through and through. He makes simple and simultaneously delicious dishes that recall his childhood visits to his grandparents. From charcuterie to pasta, he stays true to the images and tastes that seem to be rooted deep in his soul.
What also impressed me was his team, from the newly hired restaurant front house staff in training, to several of his cooks who have followed Michele's career around Montreals kitchens.
Michele loves his city, his heritage, and of course great food. I felt at home and pleased to find so many common interests and tastes in food with my new friend, and hope to go and visit a lot more. Especially if he lets me bake bread like I did this time, Pugliese bread of course!