SPORTS

Chef Jean Soulard adds Canadian flavour to Canada Olympic House during Games

07/27/2012 03:10 EDT | Updated 09/26/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - Jean Soulard has limited time in London and he knows where he wants to eat.

The executive chef at the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City hopes to hit the Square Restaurant, a Michelin two-star eatery under Phil Howard. Then there's Claude Bosi's Hibiscus, which also has two Michelin stars. And Pollen Street Social, Jason Atherton's first venture since overseeing Gordon Ramsay's Maze.

"It's a good opportunity to find out what's happening somewhere else," he said. "And it's a good city for good restaurants."

So many plates to try and so little time to do it. Soulard is here for just a week to oversee the menu at Canada Olympic House.

"It's great, but it is no vacation," said Soulard.

He is no stranger to Canada House, having helped out 14 years ago for a function involving Prime Minister Jean Chretien and the Queen.

The slim Soulard is 60 but looks 15 years younger, thanks to a fitness regimen that includes marathons and triathlons.

He's not sure if he will get to see any of the Games competition but has a wish list.

"I would love to see some triathlon because I'm a triathlon runner. I do marathons also but it's in the last week," he said.

Tennis, soccer and swimming could be a better bet.

Back home at the Chateau Frontenac, where he has worked for 20 years, Soulard has a herb garden and beehives on the roof. He brought some of that honey to London, along with some maple syrup and cranberries to add some Canadian flavour.

His luncheon menu Friday for the opening of Canada Olympic House featured pistachio persillade yellow fin tuna with vermicelli noodle salad, lemon- and oregano-scented Suffolk corn-fed chicken supreme with English asparagus and haricot beans, wild rocket salad with parmesan shavings and lemon vinaigrette, red and yellow cherry tomato with bocconcini and basil pesto, golden fried chickpea falafel balls with minted raita, and English strawberry tart with creme anglaise.

Soulard worked in his native France, Switzerland and England before coming to Canada in 1975 to work at the Queen Elizabeth hotel in Montreal. In 1976, he moved to Asia for three years before returning to Quebec.

He oversees a staff of 120 in four kitchens at the Chateau Frontenac, serving some 2,000 covers a day.

"It's a big machine," he said with a laugh.

Soulard has also written seven cookbooks and hosts his own TV cooking show, "Cuisinez avec Jean Soulard" on Canal Vie (French Life Channel).

MORE:cpSports