The Dish about Serge Jost, Executive Chef
Since October 2006, Serge Jost brings a lifelong passion for cooking as Executive Chef for Fairmont Le Château Montebello.
Raised in Dorlisheim near Strasbourg in Alsace, Jost was exposed to the culinary world at a young age by his parents, who ran a small Country Inn and restaurant as well as a family vineyard. His true inspiration though came from his grandfather, a true bon vivant and epicurean, who took great pleasure in preparing elaborate and festive meals, ordering fresh fish, oysters and other delicacies that he had shipped from the Coast by train to his remote village.
''I grew up watching my parents and grandparents and dreamt of working in a kitchen like them. Since then, my love affair with cooking has continued to grow,'' comments Jost. He went on to study at L'école hôtelière de Strasbourg and began his professional training in Michelin-starred restaurants and hotels in Germany and France. He honed his culinary skills at the renowned Ritz in Paris and the Buerehiesel in Strasbourg, where he worked under Chef Antoine Westermann who had a profound influence on him.
From 1991 to 1994, he was Chef de cuisine of the fine dining Petrus restaurant at the Island Shangri-la Hotel in Hong Kong. He then returned to his roots to run the family business. In 1996, he moved to Montréal and became Executive Chef at the Westin Mont-Royal. In 1998, he joined The Queen Elizabeth hotel as Sous-Chef, responsible for its signature restaurant, the Beaver Club.
A broad brush of international culinary experiences defines Jost's style, which incorporates the traditions of fine European cooking with regional influences, Asian flair and contemporary presentation. His cuisine celebrates the rich bounty of Quebec products, especially from the Outaouais region. ''I believe in healthy, uncomplicated cuisine, presented in an understated and elegant manner that allows the natural flavors, colors and textures to stand on their own as a compliment to each other.''
At the helm of the Chateau's kitchen, he oversees the landmark hotel's restaurants, Aux Chantignoles, the outdoor BBQ and Golf Course outlets in summer, as well as banquets, in-room dining and the outside catering service. He also created a creative and sensual wellness menu for the hotel's new Spa, an inviting facility featuring a design in harmony with the local landscape offering rejuvenating treatments.
While his menus change seasonally, local ingredients are always the centerpiece, whether it be Kenauk trout, Papineauville goat cheese, bison from Takwanaw farms or suckling pig from St-Canut. From the Fall 2007 menu of Aux Chantignoles, he recommends the Deer medallions from Boileau served with a white bean purée and St-André-Avellin root vegetables and elderberry sauce, or the Seared fillet of walleye on a bed of wild mushrooms, Potato and cêpe mushroom purée with a light roasted onion jus.
Jost concludes, ''My greatest pleasure is to make guests happy. I want their dining experience to be memorable and a true experience.''