Meanwhile in the kitchen : The everyday life of chefs
While we recently told you about chef Gregory Faye’s new establishment, the multiple restaurants of the HONEYROSE Hotel in Montréal, Prime Video recently unveiled the series “Meanwhile in the kitchen” with, among others, Simon Mathys of Le Mastard (winner of the “Chef of the Year” at Laurier de la gastronomie in 2022) and Antonin Mousseau-Rivard, of Le Mousseau and the brand-new Le Molière, which reveals the behind-the-scenes world of the chefs.
Meanwhile in the kitchen: the reality behind the romance of the star chefs
While the Netflix series “Chef’s Table” showed us the slightly more romantic, sophisticated and elegant side of chefs’ lives, Prime Video’s documentary series “Meanwhile in the Kitchen,” which has been available since March 10, 2023, offers us a glimpse into the daily lives of six passionate chefs, taking us behind the exciting and chaotic scenes of the restaurant industry, which is not always as easy and elegant as one might imagine.
Through privileged access, the series invites you into the world of six chefs and follows their evolution over eight 30-minute episodes. From sourcing ingredients to creating unique menus, each episode of “Pendant ce temps en cuisine” exposes us to the different realities and challenges of owning a restaurant and making a living from it. The series features Antonin Mousseau-Rivard of Le Mousso and Simon Mathys of Le Mastard, as mentioned earlier, as well as Alex Cohen and Raegan Steinberg of Arthurs, Maria-Josée and Zoya De Frias of Le Virunga, Kim Côté and Perle Morency of Côté Est, and Mike Lafaille of Kwizinn.
The series is produced by Pixcom, in association with Amazon Studios. Nicola Merola, Charles Lafortune and Sylvie Desrochers are executive producers. Jennifer Gatien is Producer, Stephan Peterson is Content Producer. The directors are Lysandre Leduc-Boudreau, Karen Cho and Riel Lazarus. “We are thrilled to have produced this series with Prime Video, and we are very grateful to the chefs who have not only welcomed us into their world, but also allowed us to share their experiences,” said Nicola Merola, President of Pixcom.
More about the chefs’ experience in “Meanwhile in the kitchen”
Simon Mathys of Le Mastard
While speaking with the very shy Simon Mathys, chef of the Le Mastard restaurant, number 2 of EnRoute’s Top 10 Best New Canadian Restaurants in 2022, we can feel that for him, to accept being on a show like this is something exceptional. “We took the time to think about it, because it’s a big commitment and we wanted to do it knowing the various ins and outs of the project,” explains the Mastard chef. The latter has had immense visibility in the media over the last few months and I wanted to know how, in addition to his job as a chef, he manages this new phenomenon of popularity: “You mustn’t worry about that, the important thing is that the customers who set foot in the restaurant are happy that the team is happy. As far as ‘En Route’ is concerned, it’s really a team project, and it’s been great to share it together. I have to say that being the chef of the second-best new restaurant in Canada is a little crazy, but we’re just happy with the scope of it and we’re continuing our work as we did before,” says Mathys. When I ask him why he accepted this Prime Video project, he tells me that it’s so that customers and future customers can see what really happens in the life of a chef and his team on a daily basis, he specifies that it’s by no means a “One Man Show” in his kitchen, that everyone is important, and that the chef only opens his restaurant from Monday to Friday, which, according to him, has helped a lot in keeping his team, which is almost the same since the opening.
Mike Lafaille of Kwizinn
For the self-taught chef of Verdun’s Creole restaurant, Mike Lafaille, it’s a great experience: “I really liked that they filmed the experience in its natural state without any artifice, whether it was in the middle of a busy service, before and after, with the various problems that can happen. The restaurant must be seen one step at a time, we must make progress, move forward and the restaurant is close to my home, in Verdun (it was in Rosemont on Plaza St-Hubert until 2017), where I love the community spirit, whether it is on a personal level or between merchants, we meet, we are supportive, we help each other, it’s natural,” adds the Haitian of origin. I really wanted to know the cuisine, and the little tastes he gave us were delicious: “The base was traditional Haitian cuisine, to which I add the other cuisines I like, my wife is Italian, so I try to add these essences to my cooking. I experiment and I love to make a new and different gastronomy. I am inspired by and have great respect for the chefs Paul Toussaint of Kamûy and Jay Anthony of Tropikal, who have a cuisine that is similar to mine. At Kwizinn, we are open to everyone, we introduce a new dish every week that varies according to my influences of the moment (Mexican, Colombian, etc.) while being tasty and spicy, with of course, a Caribbean base,” adds the chef co-owner of Kwizinn.
Antonin Mousseau-Rivard of Le Mousso and Le Molière
Pour le chef du , mettre la réalité des restaurants en période post-COVID est une excellente prémisse: «On glorifie tellement notre métier ces temps-ci, que d’avoir une vision réaliste des coulisses de notre métier était nécessaire. Ce fut une belle opportunité pour moi de mettre notre quotidien d’une façon non romancée, qui n’est pas faite pour glorifier le métier, mais vraiment mettre de l’avant toutes les difficultés et démontrer comment ce n’est pas un quotidien facile,» précise M Mousseau-Rivard.
For the chef of Le Mousso, putting the reality of restaurants in a post-COVID period is an excellent premise: “We glorify our profession so much these days, that it was necessary to have a realistic vision of what goes on behind the scenes of our profession. It was a great opportunity for me to put our daily life in a non-romanticized way, which is not made to glorify the profession, but really put forward all the difficulties and show how it is not an easy daily life,” says Mousseau-Rivard.
While the restaurant has been offering a unique concept in Montréal for a few months now with only one sitting per night, with 30 guests where the chef and the sommelier guide you through a gustatory journey with their carefully chosen pairings, all retailing at $250 and the pairing at $115, I asked him if this TV experience could help people understand the new Mousso experience: “Yes absolutely, my concept is unique in Quebec, and beyond being known for being the $250 per person restaurant, it seems like people don’t understand all of the work behind it. There’s something incredible about our place. It’s intimate, we cook, we serve you, we talk to you, we interact at the tables, there’s really an experience and a gastronomic side that is out of the ordinary, without being stuffy,” adds the chef of Le Mousso.
The importance of the team is essential for the chef, he mentions that he started at the age of 16 working in the dishwashing area of a restaurant, and he hated the haughtiness of some people towards his job as a dishwasher: “If there were no dishwashers in a restaurant, it wouldn’t work. All employees are important in a restaurant and all must be on an equal footing and it is essential to make people understand that they are a whole,” concludes the chef-owner of the brand new
The importance of the team is essential for the chef, he mentions that he started at the age of 16 working in the dishwashing area of a restaurant, and he hated the haughtiness of some people towards his job as a dishwasher: “If there were no dishwashers in a restaurant, it wouldn’t work. All employees are important in a restaurant and all must be on an equal footing and it is essential to make people understand that they are a whole,” concludes the chef-owner of the brand new Le Molière – Par Mousso.