As is tradition at Eater, we close the year by asking a group of writers, editors, photographers and others from across town to comment on the food of the past year. Their responses – unedited (except grammar and translation) and in no particular order – will be revealed in multiple posts by 2021. Here they share their hopes for the coming year.
Erik Leijon, freelance writer, Montreal Gazette, Cult MTL, and others: Obviously, a safe environment for catering employees to do their work, but also that diners do not forget the comfortable neighborhood corners that have supported them during the closings.
Jason Lee, Food Blogger, Shut up and eat: So that the face of the restaurant industry is modernized and reflects its time. Have a greater representation of BIPOC in internal talent. May the guests be kind and understanding and that everyone be patient and compassionate.
Ivy Lerner-Frank, Eater Montreal contributor: Greater societal (and government) recognition of the work and role that the restaurant industry plays, starting with the recognition that restaurant and service workers are essential workers – with concomitant prioritization for vaccinations. I’d like to see a broader understanding of the intricacies of running a restaurant, the factors that contribute to pricing, and an appreciation for the creativity, commitment, and drive that drives this industry (read: over kindness overall to restaurateurs and staff). No more no-shows. And while I hope? The universal basic income would also be a good thing.
Iris Gagnon-Paradis, journalist and food critic, Press: That this pandemic will soon be over and that the restaurants remain open.
JP Karwacki, editor, Montreal timeout: There’s the basic issue of survival, but beyond that what I want to see are increased permissions for bars to sell take-out drinks; that rent subsidies be put in place for creators and cultural shakers in the city; that wages increase and that workers’ health and dental insurance and appropriate human resources be provided; restaurants to downsize into smaller formats with simpler menus and more attentive service; and for Montrealers to find ways to maintain their support for restaurants such as buying gift certificates or stock instead of turning around and canceling reservations.
Tommy Dion, food blogger, The cook addict: That the restaurant industry find a balance between personal life, professional life, work, profit and pleasure. # CaVaBienAller, right?
Daniel Bromberg, Eater Montreal contributor: Hopefully restaurants can operate at full capacity and find ways to alleviate reservation cancellations, without having to worry about another shutdown / foreclosure situation. Alma tried this winter and we might see other high end restaurants trying similar things. Oh, and more homemade products!
Rachel Chen, photographer and activist in food safety and catering: Through my work with the Canadian Restaurant Workers Coalition and the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, I see so many hospitality spaces reimagining what the industry might look like. My greatest hope is that every cafe, restaurant and bar will recognize that we can no longer function outside of climate or health crises, and that we all see this tumultuous time as a way to reconfigure our priorities, putting the well-being of the people first. workers. – essentially, the well-being of each other.
Clay Sandhu, Culinary Editor, Cult MTL: For me, my hope is that the romanticism of restaurants returns. Hope we can return to a place where beautiful meals are served in beautiful settings not knowing that my meal may come at the expense of a cook’s health and livelihoods or that I may be contributing to the proliferation of an impending and worsening virus. It would be nice to eat, drink and have fun without any strings attached.
Alison Slattery, photographer, Two food photographers: Survival. The kitchen folks in our city are some of the most resilient people I know, and I hope their creativity and passion will survive this horrific situation. I hope we can continue to support restaurants in our city as best we can. Take those gift cards, cookbooks, fancy pickles and merchandise. If you like to buy local and support the local community, this is one of the ways. Hope we can get through this together.