When my friend Doug first invited me to go to the sugar shack with a few other of his friends, I jumped in the air like a kid in a candy store. I haven’t been in a sugar shack in YEARS and my last experience, a few years ago, haven’t been that much fun because the place looked like a big open gymnasium with too many people and not enough love in the food. Although I love maple syrup, everything maple flavored and I would never refuse such invitation, I still expect a certain amount of love and “homey” feel in a place like a sugar shack.
If you never heard of a sugar shack before, well…. the first thing you have to know, it’s a Canadian thing. I don’t exactly know to explain it, but I’ll do my best… Think about a wood shack in the middle of the forest where we create maple syrup from the water coming from the maple trees. The owner of the sugar shack usually own a maple farm around his shack and bring back the water from his trees to make this liquid gold that we call maple syrup. In this same place, you have a mini restaurant, that present a variety of delicious maple flavored meals, from salty to sweet. You drink, you laugh, you eat… everybody is there to spend some family or friendly time, everybody is happy, it’s an amazing place with an amazing ora. Maybe one of my favorite places in the world because of the feeling you have when you’re in there, surrounded by the people you love, drinking, laughing, eating… like it was your last day on earth.
Outside, the March weather is still cold but not too intense so you can enjoy some fun time playing in the melting snow with the younger ones and eat some taffy on snow. Sometime, you can even visit the maple syrup “factory” and see the entire process from beginning to end of how we transform the precious maple water in to maple syrup. It’s actually quit simple and I have vivid memories of my grand father doing it in his kitchen while I was sitting close to him watching his every move, hoping some would just fall outside the pot so I can just eat it on the spot without him noticing it. Ahhh memories…
I didn’t know where my friend wanted to bring me but deep inside, I was hoping to go to the famous sugar shack “Au Pied de Cochon” owned by the famous chef Martin Picard that you might have seen on French or English tv in various shows. Martin bought this shack in 2009 and since the reviews have been very good and I always wanted to go there. What an amazing surprise when I realized that it was exactly where we were going! I think Doug might have read my mind without even realizing it. The second he told me that I might even have a chance to meet the big chef in person, I was even more excited! He was indeed right because I did had the chance to meet Martin Picard and you can see the proof by the photo above.
I got to admit that it took me a good hour and 1 maple martini before having enough courage to go ask him for a photo with me for this blog. I don’t usually get starstruck, I have met many mainstreams actors, producers, pornstars (obviously), tv and radio show hosts and more so it’s never something that happened to me. When you think about it, they are just human being like you and me and there is nothing to be nervous about just because they are a public figure. Last week end I realized that there is one type of celebrity that I’m nervous to meet and it’s chefs! Ok that might sound totally ridiculous for you guys but it’s true. I guess it’s because I’m an inspiring chef myself and I know I’m not even close to be up to part with mister Picard skills so I got nervous…. Anyways, the maple martini worked pretty decent because I went to see Marc and asked him to take a photo with me. I brievely told him that I had a food blog and wanted to make a review of his place but I don’t think he really understood me or even cared. Can you blame him? …not really. 🙂
After all, I might have looked like any other random girl coming to him asking for this same request that he’s used to perform like a circus freak. Don’t take me wrong he wasn’t rude at all and I’m sure once you know him he’s really sweet but I didn’t feel like sticking around at the bar with him and his friend like a stupid groupie so instead we exchanged a few smiles, took a photo and I went back to my place. Now who knows, maybe after he’ll read this text I’ll have the chance for a real conversation with him over a nice glass of wine in his first restaurant : Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal to make another review…. A girl can dream right? 😉