Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Art of Eating: No ordinary cookbook launch

Who wields the biggest knife amongst Montreal's food celebrities? These days it seems like Joe Beef is hogging all the lime light. Martin Picard, Chuck Hughes, Nadia G, all show Montreal's cool ass zeitgeist to much celebration in TV's foodland. And who can forget the internet's numbers one champs, the lovable Lardo Retardos a.k.a Epic Meal Time? All these folk are newcomers in the arena when it comes to what makes our food or city famous. The patriarch in the scene is none other than James MacGuire. 

The  Maestro at work: MacGuire and his medium
Saturday's launch of the Art of Cooking cookbook, at Appetite for Books, featured an appearance by MacGuire who contributed recipes to the book. The book is a collection of recipes from the Art of Eating magazine from the past 25 years.
MacGuire's restaurant, Passe Partout (located on Decarie boulevard and not the kid's TV show note this is not the most appetizing link), and most importantly his bread, is the story of legends in Montreal's storied great foods. The Art of Cooking, author and magazine publisher, Ed Behr praised MacGuire's "encyclopedic knowledge" of French cooking at Saturday's launch. In case you did not know Passe Partout's baguette garnered praises from the New York Times. Next time you are munching on a baguette from Première Moisson, Au Pain Doré, or the amazing Arhoma give thanks to MacGuire who is responsible for bringing the great French baguette to Montréal and reminding us there is more to our city than just bagels.

But is it Art? MacGuire's holey loaves on display
MacGuire's reputation in the annals of Montreal's food culture was evident at Saturday’s event as food journalists Julian Armstrong, Lesley Chesterman, and Barry Lazar were all in attendance. Montreal jazz great Vic Vogel, another Montreal legend, even made an appearance confirming MacGuire's place in Montreal's pantheon of individuals who make our city great.

Attendees of Saturday’s event got a special and rare treat, a taste of James MacGuire’s bread. Perhaps even better we got to hear some bread making tips from the master himself. All we can say is that if anybody is in Vermont please pick us up a bag of King Arthur flour.

Blast from the Past: Memories of MacGuire and Passe Partout

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