Throughout the month of November, the table is set at Le Germain Charlevoix Hotel & Spa. You can feast on local products and delicious discoveries, with Charlevoix as a backdrop, whether at Les Labours Restaurant or Le Bercail Restaurant. The gourmet month will end on a high note with an invitation to spend a unique and festive weekend with chefs Michele Forgione (impasto) and Basilio Pesce (Cheese Shop). The two chefs will draw inspiration from the simple and festive cuisine of Italy in order to prepare a feast with products that are the hallmark of the magnificent Charlevoix region. We met with them ahead of the weekend.
Who is he? Michele Forgione is executive chef and co-owner of three restaurants, Impasto, Pizzeria Gema and Chez Tousignant. Located in the heart of Little Italy in Montreal, all three have been critically acclaimed since their respective openings. Forgione comes from a long line of excellent home cooks, but was formally trained at the St. Pius X Culinary Institute, followed by the Institut de tourisme et d'Hôtellerie du Québec in pastry and baking. He was also the original chef at Osteria Venti in Old Montreal. In 2014, Forgione was named by the Montreal Gazette as one of 10 Next Generation Chefs in the city and took home a silver medal in the Quebec leg of the Canadian Culinary Championships - Gold Medal Plates. He is co-author of Montrealissimo, his first book, which highlights the culinary culture of Italian Montrealers.
"What inspires me about the beautiful Charlevoix region are the people, the artisans and the abundance of excellent products. Not to mention the beautiful landscape! "
On Italian Cooking
"It's part of my DNA - it's my culture, my history and my blood. What I like most about Italian food is its simplicity and authenticity. "
His favorite food?
"My favorite food without a doubt is handmade orecchiette with rapini and zampina sausage, a typical dish from the Puglia region. "
Basilio Pesce has been delighting lovers of Italian food in Toronto for many years. In particular, he made his mark as one of the best Italian chefs in the city at his restaurant Porzia, where he was chef and co-owner until 2015. He continues to delight the palate of Torontonians as executive chef at Cheese Boutique.
"What inspires me is the beauty of the Charlevoix region and the quality of its terroir and products."
On Italian Cooking
"What I love about Italian food is its simplicity. It's a really honest cuisine that highlights the featured ingredient. "
His favorite Italian dish
“My favorite dish is tubetti e ceci pasta, tomato sauce and peperoncino. This is the pasta of my childhood. One bite takes me back and reminds me of my mother and grandmothers. "
Basilio and Michele will be offering a handful of guests Italian cooking lessons as well as a true Italian feast in places as charming as they are unusual in the Charlevoix area. Space is very limited.