Monday , March 20 2023

Beyond the plaque: Nora Gray's Emma Cardarelli is no stranger


This is the seventh installment of the Beyond the Plate monthly series, looking at the motivations and passions of local chefs. This month: Emma Cardarelli.

The 1983 The Outsiders is an ideal setting to describe the career path of Emma Cardarelli, Nora Gray and Elena.

Cardarelli comes from the home of Fred Morin and David McMillan. These two aristocratic chefs adopted a guiding tactic similar to the venerable director Francis Ford Coppola and gave their eyes in the early 90s to hire new, now respected, now respected chefs to soften and learn in the kitchens their.

For The Outsiders, Coppola threw unknown figures that went on to have a huge career, including Tom Cruise and Patrick Swayze. But while the film was snapped with testosterone and anxiety, the new Diane Lane instantly illuminates the screen with its round, sure posture when it appeared. I saw a similar incompatible action at the meeting with Cardarelli.

When he tells how he entered the Joe Beef chef's classroom and met the reputation that came with it, it is clear that he has not only grown through the kitchen scene within a boys' club but has hurt his own path.

Born and raised in the Montreal of the West in the 1980s, Cardarelli confesses that, like other chefs appearing on this column, "I fell into it."

"I did not grow up believing this is something I will do," he says. "However, I did cook and enjoy it."

After attending the Sacred Heart and the Lower College of Canada, Kardarelli ventured into Halifax, where he studied psychology at Dalhousie University.

During her studies, her boyfriend asked if she would like to work with the summer months at Lake O'Hara Lodge, a hiking and skiing hub located in the Rockies near the B.C./Alberta border. "When we asked for the job, it was like," You know, you have to tell them what you're gonna do! "

Despite having a tendency to cook, Cardarelli leapt to her path with an eradication process.

"There were two jobs available: a household or a kitchen worker. My immediate reaction was:" I do not want to clean the toilets and change the people's sheets, so sign me for the kitchen. "

"At university, I've always been the one who cooks for my roommates and the organization of dinners, for example, on Thanksgiving, I was the one who went to the market, picking vegetables, finding a turkey, for me it was just a natural thing."

Cardarelli's time in the country house ended up being a formative experience. "I started doing this work to the west – the most beautiful place where the group of seven was coloring – and somewhat fell in love (with cooking). It was something that I got naturally and I found it easy enough … I was passionate about get -go. "

While on Lake O'Hara Lodge, Cardarelli met with a Québécoise who completed her studies at Montreal's ITHQ Gourmet Institute. You strongly feel that a culinary grade would be a sensible move for Cardarelli, the woman encouraged her to return to Montreal.

"This woman told me:" The techniques you are going to learn at the cooking school are the same regardless of the cooking school you are going. They will show you how to use a knife, what are the basic sauces. It's what you do with what really will make a difference. "

"I really got this in my heart."

With an undergraduate degree in physiology and a new direction, at the age of 23, Cardarelli attended ITHQ, where French was the language of instruction.

"As an Englishman and true Montreal, where I have never spoken any French, I was full of nervousness, but I was happy to pass the language test." Still, he admits, "I was afraid, because someone who is not really exposed to the world of the francophone, how would it be perceived."

As it turned out, her concerns were unfounded.

"People were very open and hospitable. It was an amazing experience," says Cardarelli. "I really liked, and I did quite well. I was at the top of the class."

What happened then kicked things up at high speed.

At the age of 24 and preparing to graduate, "my teacher loved me a lot – so I recommended making a scene at Restaurant Globe." Chef David McMillan was his student and he thought the way I did things was very similar to him. " with honesty to her teacher saying, "You have to go and meet him."

A meeting was organized, but a funny thing happened: "The day I arrived … to meet Dave was his last day in the Globe."

McMillan was ready to take the wheel to Rosalie's kitchen, which was the last of the team that owned what he felt like all St-Laurent Blvd., with restaurants including Buonanotte and Globe.

Cardarelli remembers that McMillan said, "Do not talk to me – I will not be here anymore, go find Fred, he's in the kitchen.

Her first encounter with Morin sounds like the rest of the memories of those who started under the reputation of the chef's guardian: unexpected and fantastic.

"He was indifferent and indifferent, as always, and the first thing he asked me was nothing to do with any of my experience – it was this kind of music I hear and I like reggae!"

The Cardarelli scene in the Globe was accepted and it was good luck to shade Morin once a week for about a month. "I was hooked at Fred," he says, "because his mind is so interesting."

Following her attitude with Morin, Cardarelli had the desire for more and called him daily to ask if there was a chef's place. The answer was firmly not, until one day she was surprised: "Yes, there is!"

There was a chance at the Globe, and Cardarelli grabs it. She studied her skills there for two years under Morin's meticulous eye and stayed for another year after she cut off the links with Globe to begin what became the Joe Beef empire.

"The last year I was not there was very difficult for me," recalls Cardarelli. "I was not in favor of the administration." I did not like the way people were working out and so I would reflect their treatment back to those they did not like. "

Emma Cardarelli is a regular visitor to Lino Birri's Jean-Talon Market.

Emma Cardarelli is a regular visitor to Lino Birri's Jean-Talon Market.

Ezra Soiferman

After giving her notice, Cardarelli took some time. He was headed to London with a British passport that thanked her English parents.

He spent about nine months in London. He has a job in a star Michelin restaurant and remembers the exhausting hours. "I worked 5 1/2 days a week, 16 hours in the afternoon, arriving at 7am in the morning and leaving at midnight."

In the summer of Montreal we were told and Cardarelli returned for a rest.

"I came home for a visit in June and I went to see Fred. It was like," Come and see this new thing we're doing right next to (for Joe Beef).

Cardarelli wanted to leave London, but says she did not want to work for anyone except Morin. Bondage and dedication are wild, as with so many top chefs they learned from him.

Luckily, he offered him a coveted job, charismatic at his new restaurant, Liverpool.

Morin had already recruited the main team of all the stars revealed by Cardarelli and was working on all the preparations required for the launch. But with the true Morin style, he quickly put the wheels in motion to return to his kitchen.

"Fred just gave me the freedom and it was like," Yeah, okay, that's Emma and everything he says is cool, "and everyone was very skeptical about me at this point."

In the autumn of 2007, the Liverpool doors were opened. François Côté was a chef, resulting in promising small casts including Maksim Morin (later Le Chien Fumant) and Marc-Olivier Frappier (now chef and co-owner of Joe Beef associated with Mon Lapin). A young Ryan Gray presided over the bar and stellar wine selection.

Within three months, Cote passed to Joe Beef and Cardarelli took the lead at Liverpool House with her debut as chief chef. For four years, she worked steadily and with great praise by her advisers. All the time, she made her own empire in her mind.

Emma Cardarelli prepares a main dish in 2010 at Liverpool House, where she worked as chief chef for four years.

Emma Cardarelli prepares a main dish in 2010 at Liverpool House, where she worked as chief chef for four years.

Bryanna Bradley / /

Montreal Gazette Records

"Dave (McMillan) set me up one day and it was like," I can see you plan to open your own space, and whenever you're ready and whatever you need, I'll be there to support you in whatever way I can. I'm financially, or just with advice, I'm behind you 100 percent, "which was unbelievable. I had the strength and strength behind me!

"It really made me feel like I could do anything."

And with this reinforcement, Cardarelli teamed up with Gray and co-owner Lisa McConnell in 2012, leaving Liverpool House to become a chef and co-owner of Nora Gray at St-Jacques St. in Little Burgundy. This was followed this year by Elena, a heavenly pizza spot on Notre-Dame Street in St-Henri.

"I never had Italian food before – always French food – but I had some recipes I held in my back pocket that I never used in Liverpool House that I saved for my own restaurant."

For our adventure Beyond the Plate, we made a trip to the Jean-Talon market, where Cardarelli is a regular visitor. We chose rich peppers from Liro Birri, Birri et frères, and headed back to Nora Gray to prepare the salsa red pepper, a favorite crowd served in the evening next to the homemade focaccia of the restaurant.

Cardarelli's love for food surpasses only her desire to apply to her own restaurants a powerful set of values ​​that she has learned through her Montreal culinary classes.

Like Diane Lane overflowing with her young male counterparts at The Outsiders, this tireless chef – recognized by colleagues for talent and stability – has finally taken the central stage.


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