Omnivore is a food festival and tour that takes place in cities around the world, including Paris, Moscow and Shanghai, and it just wrapped up in Montreal. It celebrates culinary creativity with master classes, demonstrations, dinners and parties all intended to explore what’s new in the world of food. It’s unique because it has a youthful vibe thanks to its focus on up-and-coming chefs, both local and international, as opposed to the same old names and faces. As you’re racking your brain for new recipes to test and explore in the kitchen, take a look at some of the highlights and takeaways from Montreal to take your cooking to the next level: 

1. Play on Words… and Shapes!

Omnivore Festival Montreal

Chef Gita Seaton of Nouveau Palais presented a very cheeky bite at the Omnivorious party, a smoked clam with an oyster cracker tucked inside. The flavors were complimentary but the play on the oyster and clam made everyone smile.

Takeaway? Rethink natural combinations to come up with something witty, such as swirls of pea puree in a carrot soup or a quail egg topped with bacon bits.

2. Look Beyond the Obvious

Omnivore Festival Montreal

In an afternoon session, Alexander Cruz and Cyril Gonzales presented foraged ingredients including wild mushrooms and giant clams. Société-Orignal challenges the very notions of an agricultural way of life by bridging the gap between producers and restaurants. Through a series of projects and experiments they investigate diversity, creativity and new sources of foods from the sea and the land.

Takeaway? Look to your garden for edible weeds like purslane, dandelion greens or lambs lettuce.

3. Try Unexpected Juxtapositions

Omnivore Festival Montreal

Giorgio Ravelli of Upstairs at the 10 Bells in London prepared butter and gin poached oyster with seaweed, cucumber & crispy potato. The presentation of the oysters, set in a forest of greens with crisp cucumber, was unexpected and stunningly beautiful.

Takeaway? Go beyond steak and lobster to create your own original “surf and turf” with seafood and vegetables, such as shrimp with zucchini or scallops with cherry tomatoes.

4. Small is Beautiful

Omnivore Festival Montreal

The French company Coup de Pates features classic French pastry but also updates it. Parisian style macarons have been popular for a while, but by stacking a miniature macaron on top of a standard macaron, the result is fresh, pretty and almost jewel like.

Takeaway? Small versions of cookies, cupcakes or even chocolates make great garnishes for larger standard ones. Imagine a cake topped with mini cupcakes or a chocolate bon bon decorated with tiny beads of chocolate.

5. Go for Fresh Flavor Combinations

Omnivore Festival Montreal

Valrhona chocolate was the key ingredient for local Montreal pastry chef Franck Dury-Pavet of Fous Desserts. He combined Manjari 64% chocolate with lemon cake and hazelnut praline to create something not only charming to look at but exquisite to taste.

Takeaway? Push the limits by combining fruit, chocolate and nuts. What will the next great combination be -- raspberry, white chocolate and almond? Or maybe peach, milk chocolate and pecan? The sky is the limit!


Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman is a writer and recipe developer based in San Francisco. She loves exploring different cultures through food and experimenting with ingredients from her own backyard and around the globe. She is the author of Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers and WinePassport: Portugal. She has been blogging at Cooking with Amy for more than 10 years and her writing has appeared online and in print publications including Cheers, Epicurious, Fodor’s, Gastronomica, and 

Amy is a part of The Opener, an exclusive, invite-only contributor network that will bring the best food, culture and innovation writing to the pages of Coca-Cola Journey.