Visiting Quebec is always a pleasure for us. This time, our excitement increased as we ventured further east to Charlevoix and Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. Both my husband and I enjoy all varieties of luxury hotels. However, the charm of a classic establishment can provide such a feeling a comfort- especially when it has maintained its charm and added modern conveniences.
Our group of twenty arrived late afternoon. After a chance to rest and refresh, we joined Executive Chef Patrick Turcot for champagne and then dinner in Le Charlevoix Restaurant, with its view of the St. Lawrence River.
Chef Turcot was sitting across the table from me, so it was easy to ask a lot of questions and discover his passion for food and using local ingredients.
Originally from Quebec, he graduated with his degree in Pastry and International Cooking from the Institut de Tourisme et d’ Hotellerie du Quebec, with an internship at the Ritz Carlton in Montreal.
Turcot immediately started his career in prestigious hotels in Quebec City and Montreal, before his opportunity to join Fairmont. Turcot liked Fairmont and Fairmont liked Turcot. He started at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, one that is on our list to visit, and then returned to Quebec City’s Le Chateau Frontenac. At the same time, Turcot made time to teach apprentice cooking at Limoilou College. I believe this experience has helped him excel in the hotel kitchens along with those on his team.
Edmonton’s Fairmont Hotel Macdonald was next on his list in 2003. It was there that he discovered the importance of working with local producers and in 2005 became an ambassador of local farmers on Culinary Team Alberta.
In 2010, the Fairmont in Scottsdale called. This Five-Diamond property with four signature restaurants, massive function space and Willow Stream Spa was a challenge. Moving from Canada to the desert provided new flavors, products and ideas to feed his imagination. He continued to share his knowledge via cooking demos and TV shows.
Turcot has been awarded several honors and simply loves cooking. He expressed his excitement about being back in Quebec and Charlevoix. Patrick is looking forward to raising his family there, while he enjoys cooking for his wife and children.
Our group had been on the Charlevoix Flavor Trail, a part of the region that Patrick is eager to explore.
When I asked him about his basic techniques, he responded, “I use French culinary principles as a foundation and add the endless supply of regional ingredients.”
Turcot likes dishes that appear elegant while being simple so as not to mask the quality of the main ingredient.
Next, when I asked him which product of Charlevoix he wants to discover and experiment with soon, he gave the right response, “Cheese.” For a cheese lover like me, Patrick’s vision of a new risotto, featuring cheese of Charlevoix, won me over. So did his dinner. Rather than share what we had just tasted, he one of his lighter recipes for six servings.
I hope you’ll enjoy Patrick’s dish as much as we did.
Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu’s Patrick Turcot, Executive Chef Agave Cured Ahi Tuna with Fennel Lemon Salad and Low Fat Lemon Coulis
1 Pound (450 grams) Fresh tuna loin, skinless and fat line removed
2 Ounces (60 ml) Agave nectar
2.5 Ounces (70 grams) Sea salt
4 Ounces (8 Tbsp.) Dill, chopped
.5 Ounce (1 Tsp.) Ground white pepper
- Mix the salt, agave nectar, pepper and sprinkle it underneath and on top of the tuna loin together with plenty of dill.
- Place a weighted cutting board on top of the tuna and let it marinate at room temperature for 6 hours.
- Rinse the tuna in cold water. Cut into very thin slices at a slant. Be careful to not damage the even slices.
Fennel Lemon Salad
1 Large Fennel bulb
1 Ounce (28 ml) Lemon olive oil
3 Each Lemons (segmented)
To Taste Sea salt and pepper
- Using a mandolin, slice the fennel in large slices as thin as possible.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the lemon segments with seasoning.
- Drizzle lemon to finish the flavor.
Low Fat Lemon Coulis
.25 Ounce (1/2 Tsp.) Dijon mustard
2 Each Lemons, juiced
1 Cup (250 ml) Low fat Greek yogurt
To Taste Sea salt and ground white pepper
.5 Ounce (1 Tbsp.) Dill, chopped
- Combine the mustard and lemon juice with the seasoning.
- Slowly incorporate the low fat yogurt.
- Finish with the chopped dill. Adjust seasoning, if needed.
1 Cup Local micro greens
½ Tbsp. Toasted fennel seeds
- Place 3 fennel chips on each plate.
- On each chip, place a small drop of the light lemon sauce. Top with 1 slice of agave cured salmon.
- Garnish with micro green, lemon segments and toasted fennel seeds.
- Drizzle with extra lemon sauce and lemon oil.
Fat, Total 7.8
As we left Fairmont’s Le Manoir Richelieu and Chef Patrick Turcot, we look forward to a return visit. Experiencing his skill and passion in the kitchen along with his personality is worth the visit. The Castle on the Cliff can fulfill many pleasures.