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Yannick LaSalle, the chef behind Les Fougères draws inspiration from around the world, but doesn’t like to go far from the Pontiac for ingredients

When he won the 2019 Canadian Culinary Championships in February, nobody was as surprised as chef Yannick LaSalle himself. “My philosophy was to go out there and enjoy every moment, which I think earned us some brownie points,” says the sweet-natured man who’s helmed the kitchen at Les Fougères in Chelsea, Quebec, since 2011. Before settling back in the Pontiac region where he grew up, LaSalle travelled extensively, working at Michelin-starred restaurants in New York, California and France. Although he declares, “if I was a single man I’d still be gone and travelling the world,” he and his hometown-sweetheart fiancée have recently managed to visit foodie mecca Peru (his choice) and in September 2019, they headed to Morocco (her choice) where he checked out the spices and tagine dishes. At some point in the near future, they’re likely off to Africa as part of the championship prize (the trip is on standby till further notice because of COVID).

LaSalle’s global curiosity is tempered by his focus on local produce, including herbs from the restaurant’s own garden, and sustainability. His winning signature dish employed local fennel, local sea buckthorn, Quebec saffron and duck breast from the Eastern townships, cured for 24 hours and hung to dry for two weeks. All ingredients have the capacity to help get Quebecers through the long winter months. 

We connected with the busy chef and here, he shares his memorable moments with us via Instagram. 

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