Quebec native Hugo Coudurier took over the reins at Le Champlain restaurant in the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in December of last year—marking new beginnings at the heritage restaurant on the banks of the Saint Laurent. Chef Coudurier brought with him a career’s worth of international cooking experience, having worked in world-renowned and Michelin-starred kitchens around the world.
Below, we spoke to Chef Coudurier about his experience at Le Champlain so far and what guests can expect from the international chef as he settles into his new kitchen in Quebec City:
Forbes: What has been your biggest inspiration so far at the Champlain?
Hugo Coudurier: The Château Frontenac and Le Champlain restaurant are an inspiration in themselves, the feel of old France, the “grandeur” of the place, the history… It is something that inspires me a lot.
Forbes: What has been the most difficult or challenging part of taking over the kitchen at the Champlain?
Coudurier: Everything went pretty smoothly and I am very happy how well it went.
Forbes: What is the one dish that you’re most excited about or proud of?
Coudurier: I`m proud of all my new dishes!!! As long as it tastes good, I am happy with it!!! If I have to point at one specific thing, I definitely fell in love with the taste of lobster here in Quebec!
Forbes: What surprised you about taking the reins? How is it different from your previous experience?
Coudurier: To work with people older than me, both in the kitchen and in the restaurant. People here at Le Champlain are very proud of the place and decide to make a career here. It is very valuable as they are loyal, proud and already have lots of knowledge about the work to do and the place. I am normally used to working with younger people—I think this is a great strength of Champlain restaurant!
Forbes: What do you want readers to know about the Champlain or your guiding ethos in the kitchen?
Coudurier: It’s all about using seasonal ingredients and local products from Quebec or Canada whenever possible!
Forbes: Do you have anything exciting coming up that you want readers to be aware of?
Coudurier: Lots of exciting things will be coming in the next few months… Keep an eye open to discover our seasonal menus and the “Hugo Coudurier approach” for Champlain restaurant! As well as the arrival of summer shortly with all the fabulous ingredients that will become available. It will be reflected in the menu with more vegetables, herbs and freshness overall!