DeepDishMTL brings celebrity chefs to your place for dinner

Beloved local chefs Chuck Hughes, Derek Dammann, David McMillan & Frédéric Morin, Dyan Solomon and Emma Cardarelli launch a gorgeous new app that walks you through their recipes with lush step-by-step pics.


This week, a slew of Montreal’s best chefs launch DeepDishMTL, an app designed to help us culinary plebs make restaurant-quality food at home. Each chef contributes recipes, cooking tips, advice on technique and foodie facts, and the steps for each dish are accompanied by sumptuous photographs showing you how to do it right, by award-winning food photographer Dominique Lafond.

The English-language version of the app launches today, after a soft-launch tasting party last night at programmer Dynamo’s HQ in the Old Port. Bartek Komorowski and I headed down to the launch to taste previews of the app’s menu (I ate so many of the pictured oysters that I’m pretty sure the guy shucking them thought I was trying to date him), sample wines from Oenopole and chat with the chefs about their new project.

“It’s a neat combination of television, magazine and cookbook. That’s what I like about it,” says Olive et Gourmando co-founder Dyan Solomon. “The concept, they’ve been working on it for a very long time. They approached me probably about eight months ago.”

DeepDishMTL was conceived by Dynamo, whose founder Bryan Mahoney was a long-time friend of Chuck Hughes. With the concept in place, they recruited an all-star team of gastronomes, repping some of the most exciting restaurants in the city: Chuck Hughes (Iron Chef, Chuck’s Day Off, Garde Manger, Le Bremner), Derek Dammann (ex-DNA, Maison Publique), Dyan Solomon (ex-Toqué, Olive et Gourmando), David McMillan and Frédéric Morin (Joe Beef, Liverpool House) and Emma Cardarelli (Nora Gray, ex-chef de cuisine at Liverpool House).

“Bryan was the brains behind it,” says Dammann. “He approached everyone individually, way back when, with the idea of it. I got on board, obviously, because I thought the idea was very interesting. And he wants it grow, down the road, and maybe add a bunch of other cities. But starting here, with the group we have, is already really cool. If anyone’s going to make me look good, it’s everyone else in here, right?”

The developers are ambitious; the format of the app means that its set-up could be harnessed by teams of chefs in other cities, serving simultaneously as a means of sharing recipes and representing local foodie culture. While the recipes are clear (if advanced), well-explained and beautifully photographed, DeepDishMTL also serves another purpose: for the aspiring foodie, is both a guide to the tricks and techniques behind of some of the best chefs in the city, as well as a index of where to go (Where Chefs Eat is great and everything, but I’m NOT packing that brick for tourism; as Solomon jokes, it needs its own suitcase) and repping Canadian culinary culture beyond our borders.

“I kind of work a lot in the States right now, and besides Canadians, nobody knows Canadian food,” says Hughes. “There’s not very much that’s represented; we’re not really on the map, except for when, like, Anthony Bourdain comes. And then it’ll be Montreal or it’ll be Toronto. I’m hoping that one day this will be good for showing people, look, there’s tons of great stuff in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The government’s trying to promote, like, Yellowknife and Northwest Territories, where there’s awesome stuff happening. So hopefully we can convince them to go get every Canadian city, not necessarily all the big ones, but where there’s good stuff happening.” ■

DeepDishMTL is available as a free download to tablets in English (April 23) and French (May 6) in the app store or on their website

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