Friday, February 18, 2011

HotChocolate City

chicago + montreal fig. a: chicago + montreal

The 2011 edition of Festival Montréal en Lumière is officially underway, and we've decided to overlook the patronizing tone of this year's theme ("Celebrating Women"--"a food event with feminine flair!") because, quite frankly, we're excited. We've been griping about the shortage of women chefs at Montréal en Lumière for years, so it's kind of nice to see the tables turned for a change. But more importantly, the festival has managed to bring in some real superstars, like the festival's Honorary President, Anne-Sophie Pic, the 3-star chef of the legendary Maison Pic in the town Valence, in France's Northern Rhône region; Boston's Barbara Lynch (No. 9 Park, B & G Oysters, The Butcher Shop); New York's Anita Lo (Annisa); and San Francisco's Elizabeth Falkner (Orson, Citizen Cake).

Here at AEB, we're all fired-up because Restaurant Laloux is going to be hosting yet another hotshot: Chicago's Mindy Segal. Mindy has made her name first and foremost in the world of pastry. She worked in the pastry kitchens of some of America's top kitchens, including Wolfgang Puck's Spago, Michael Kornick's MK, and Charlie Trotter's namesake restaurant, and she's won numerous awards and accolades for her pastry expertise and has been a James Beard Award Oustanding Pastry Chef nominee four years running (!). But she also owns and operates her very own restaurant/dessert bar, HotChocolate, and there she directs the entire menu and has won nearly as much praise for her savory delights as for her now-legendary desserts. This is what you call a win-win situation. Michelle's thrilled because she'll be working with one of the very top pastry chefs in America. Seth is thrilled because he'll be working with one of Chicago's outstanding chefs. Actually, come to think of it, it's more like a win-win-win situation, because a whole slew of us will get a chance to experience this combo live and in-person next Monday and Tuesday.

I can't tell you much about the menu Mindy has devised for this special occasion--I'm sworn to secrecy--but I can tell you that she's coming to Montreal with a full bag of tricks and she's planning on using them.

Montréal en lumière, February 17-27

Mindy Segal @ Laloux, Monday, February 21 & Tuesday, February 22

HotChocolate, 1747 North Damen Ave., Chicago, IL, (773) 489-1747

 fig. b: Monago

Restaurant Laloux, 250 ave. des Pins E., 287-9127


p.s. Want to know more about Mindy Segal? Check out Ève Dumas' recent profile in La Presse.  Want to watch Mindy making monkey bread for Martha?*  Check it out.

* Say that five times fast.

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