| Bota Bota, spa-sur-l'eau

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The man behind the menu

We met with DAVID FIORE and ask him some questions about his career and his inspirations. Discover with us who’s behind the menu at Bota Bota, spa-sur-l’eau!

What’s your role at Bota Bota?
I lead the restaurant kitchen and staff. So, in short, I supervise the creation of our seasonal menus, our relationships with suppliers, the weekly organization of schedules, inventory, and paperwork – useful but not so exciting. I also work hard – just like my colleagues, it must be said – to create dishes for our clients and keep the kitchen and kitchen materials clean, while ensuring the quality of our products, meals, and presentations.

Tell us how you got here – where did you train?
I finished high school when I was 17 and immediately enrolled in an Italian cooking course at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec. I graduated a little more than a year later, and worked in many soulless restaurants before landing a spot at Laïka, where, thankfully, I gained valuable experience under chef Jean-François De Villemure. Four years later, I moved on to Auberge Saint-Gabriel’s catering service, which at the time was led by Éric Gonzalez. After three years of hard work, I was named Kitchen Manager at Bota Bota, to my great pleasure.

How did you fall in love with cooking?
My love for cooking came from my incredible family’s passion for food. Our family meals, in line with the Italian tradition, lasted hours, and greatly contributed to my own passion.

How would you characterize Bota Bota’s Auberge sur la Route menu?
Three words describe our seasonal menus: fresh, light, and indulgent. The menu is composed of light dishes made with fresh and healthy products that also allow our clients to indulge a little bit, for example with a small yet bold selection of Quebec cheeses and desserts.

Can you share a surprising ingredient combination served at Bota Bota?
We like combining fish or seafood with something like vanilla or red fruit, which is not very common. But we aim to maintain a certain simplicity that will please all palates. That’s why our culinary experimentations are so subtle.

What’s your favourite dish on the current menu at Bota Bota and why?
I would say the octopus carpaccio because, from a professional standpoint, it’s a delicate and unique product to work with. Plus, the presentation is quite enticing. The slightly acidic bean salad makes it all the more tasty, and the grilled chorizo adds weight to the delicate octopus. It’s an exquisite mix, made even better with a glass of white wine.

Flash quiz
A true stereotype about cooks: Their passion makes them workaholics.
A false stereotype about cooks: They’re all alcoholics. They like partying, that’s all!
What you like cooking most: Honestly, I like cooking everything. I especially like making tartares and risotto, because they are some of my favourite dishes.
Favourite chef: Grant Achatz from Alinea in Chicago, for his techniques and presentations. I also really like Jamie Oliver, for his passion and simplicity.
Kitchen secret: Soups and sauces taste much better if you let the ingredients sweat in a little oil or butter at the start of cooking. By “sweat”, I mean cook over medium heat, without letting the ingredients colour, so as to get as much sap, flavour, and aroma out of the food as possible.
Beginner’s mistake: Not tasting before serving.