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4 Top chefs being featured at Montreal’s LeChop Food Festival

Montreal foodies should take note. The city’s top chefs will be participating in LeChop festival, an event where four chefs are each “given one main ingredient around which they must create a dish.” Participants get to act as judges, voting on their favourite dishes. 

More: How to sear scallops like a pro

But what about those of us who aren’t lucky enough to attend this decadent festival? We can at least take inspiration from images of these yummy dishes. Plus, participating chefs have shared their biggest tips with foodies hoping to impress in the kitchen.

Take a look! And don’t be surprised if you find yourself running to the kitchen (or your favourite takeout menus!).

Jean-Sébastien Giguère from Decca 77

Chef Jean-Sébastien Giguère has been cooking since he was 15 years old, and cites his Italian grandmother as an inspiration. And I can’t stop staring at his gorgeous scallop brochettes (top of the page) that he whipped up in the kitchen at Decca 77, wishing they’d beam themselves into 3-dimensional form out of my computer screen. And his rack of lollipop lamb looks next level, featuring sake-soaked shallots in sake, Madeira sauce with fennel salad, apple, mint and argan oil. If you’re lucky enough to be in Montreal, be sure to indulge in his cooking!

This chef’s biggest tip for aspiring foodies? “Always try to have something funky on your menu or alcohol. People will remember that.” Or in the case of alcohol, probably not but that’s OK!

Paulo Fraga from Wienstein & Gavino’s

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Chef Paulo Frago creates inventive spins on traditional dishes, like these maple glazed pork lollipops that restaurant Wienstein & Gavino’s claims (on Facebook), are just as “tasty” as they are “comforting.” We believe you!

Some words of wisdom from this chef for anyone hoping to make a delicious dish? “Keep it simple.”

But if these gorgeous truffled diver scallops à la chef Paulo are any indication of what keeping it simple in the kitchen means to him, we’ll just have to take his word for it.

Natalia Machado at L’Atelier d’Argentine

Natalia Machado is the head chef at Montreal restaurant L’Atelier d’Argentine, and I wish I could jab my fork into this beautifully plated seared scallop dish with blue potatoes. Natalia tells LeChop that her favourite food memory is of an early Sunday morning at her first job. She waxes poetic about enjoying “toasted homemade pain au levain with foie gras butter, and a freshly brewed maté.” For those of us who also have elaborate food fantasies/memories, she’s clearly a woman after our own hearts!

Chef Natalia’s biggest hosting tip? “Forget that you are hosting; treat your guests like family.” But honestly she could treat me like garbage and I’d still enjoy this striped sea bass with blackened mashed potatoes, creamy butter and watercress from her kitchen at L’Atelier d’Argentine! Yum!

Giuseppe Sacchetti

A good chef loves to eat, and Giuseppe Sacchetti, the chef at Montreal restaurant Newtown, has a wide-range of tastes: “My favorite food to eat is Asian; General Tao, sushi, dumplings, or a rich heady coconut milk broth,” says Sacchetti in a Q&A with LeChop. His spin on capelletti, an Italian pasta dish whose name translates into “little hat,” looks super yummy — Chef Giuseppe has stuffed the pasta with scallops and dished them up in a savoury broth.

And what makes a meal stand out in this chef’s view? “Anticipation and preparation will make for a memorable evening.” Well, I’m definitely anticipating more food porn to pine away after as the LeChop festival continues.

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