This week on The Shift List, part two of our conversation with John Winter Russell, chef and founder of Restaurant Candide in Montreal.
This episode was recorded a few months back, before the world was thrown into chaos, and it serves as a reminder of how integral chefs and independent business owners are in shaping the culture of our cities.
Restaurant Candide is named after 18th century writer/philosopher Voltaire’s book of the same name, inspired particularly by the last line of the book: “Let us cultivate our garden.”
This line is the guiding force to Russell’s food, as he works closely with producers local to Montreal and creates four-course meals inspired by those ingredients, crafting dishes that are produce forward, but not exclusively vegetarian.
The experience of eating at Restaurant Candide is unique and only something that can be experienced in Montreal. From the restaurant’s location, set in an old gothic church basement, to the warm interior that utilizes refurbished pews, and exposed brick along the walls that look into the kitchen. The restaurant is a defining part of the fabric of Montreal’s restaurant scene, not only in 2020, but overall.
Thankfully, Russell feels that he and his staff will weather COVID-19 and should be able to resume business at the restaurant once restrictions are lifted, and in the meantime he’s given back to restaurant workers affected by job losses in Canada by offering beer deliveries every Friday. If you live in Montreal and are craving some craft beer delivered to your house, send an email at [email protected] All proceeds will go to the Montreal Restaurant Workers Crisis Relief Fund.