Last year, I met Montreal Chef Marc-André Royal on Twitter, where his passion for small urban bakeries grabbed my attention. So on a recent trip to Montreal, I visited his bakery; La Bête à pain, as well as his restaurant Le St. Urbain.
Marc Andre Royal is a driven chef. His strategy of serving local foods in a suburban setting could seem odd. But it works. There is a vibrant energy running through his two ventures, with what seem like endless imagination along with capabilities generating something very impressive. Sadly I barely was able to keep up with him to take enough photos,while he gave us a tour of the very bustling bakery and busy restaurant.
It's a boulangerie so small, but so well tuned like a motor. Even if his levains overnight had been the victim of a broken down refrigerator compressor failing, Marc-André was able to corral his troops and bang out sufficient bread with commercial yeast till the overproofed levains could be refreshed.The lines were already out the door when we arrived.
Marc-André designed and built his petit kitchen like a chef/engineer....all the movements and organization to fit his huge menu for a forty seat restaurant! Still he seemed stoked at the idea of doing multiple seating and degustations with a full house, "it's fun", he said... I'll be back for a dinner reservation next time!