This year marks the fifth anniversary of YUL EAT, a culinary festival aimed at showcasing the work of Montreal’s figureheads in food through tasting stations, cooking demonstrations and new masterclasses whose subjects range from vegan cheeses to eating insects. Throw in a sponsored beer garden and a marketplace for Quebec producers of artisanal products and you’ve got the largest gathering YUL EAT’s seen yet.
While there’s no shortage of restaurants on any given thoroughfare in the city, nor are there too few producers to order seasonal products from, festivals are optimal avenues for exploration and exposure for locals and tourists alike.
I recently caught up with evenko’s Director of Concerts and Events Daniel Glick to talk about how far the festival’s come and what excites him about this year’s edition.
JP Karwacki: How much has YUL EAT changed in the last five years?
Daniel Glick: A lot has changed, but the spirit is still the same. We are changing things up a bit this year. The biggest change is that we are moving location, from the Old Port to the Quartier des Spectacles. Our main tasting event — YUL EAT’s Parcours Gourmand — will take place at La SAT [Société des Arts Technologiques] Food Lab and our Redpath Market will take place at Place Des Paix. The culinary demos that will take place during the Parcours Gourmand will now be in the giant dome at La SAT. It’s going to be a really cool way to watch, listen and learn.
JPK: Are there any particularly new or innovative developments in the programme this year?
DG: The most exciting part, I think, is our masterclasses. They now take place in restaurants and the classes are given by the chefs/owners themselves. As a festival we always want to offer a better experience and giving culinary fans the opportunity to cook and learn with their favourite chefs in their kitchen is an extremely unique and special experience.
JPK: Does the festival make a point out of maintaining a local roster or can we expect to see more international attendees down the road?
DG: YUL EAT has always focused on the great talent that Montreal and Quebec has to offer. It’s been a main focus for us. That being said, we do have plans to have some more international attendees down the road.
JPK: Where did the idea of creating this festival come from anyway, how did it begin?
DG: Montreal is one of the best food cities in the world and it was important for us to showcase it. We began five years ago with the goal of having a food festival that offered something for everyone. Year after year we modified our formula so it was geared more to people who really love food. It started at the Olympic Stadium, then Old Montreal. We are excited to get established in our new location.
JPK: Were there challenges in initiating it?
DG: Lots of challenges [existed] of course; building any festival is complex and a labour of love. The financial model and audience were hard to figure out [but] I think we got it now. ■
YUL EAT runs until September 16. The festival’s central location is at Place de la Paix, Quartier des Spectacles, next to the SAT. Hours: Sept. 14, 5 p.m.–9 p.m.; Sept. 15, 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sept. 16, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. For information on prices, ticketing, and more please visit festivalyuleat.com
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