Author Kim Thúy welcomes food critic and judge at Top Chef Canada Chris Nuttall-Smith in Montreal to show him around town.
Germain Hotels invites you to meet inspiring Canadians who share their passion for hospitality, gastronomy, and the art of living well.
We invite you to meet them and discover their city, not as a guest, but as a member of the family.
First stop: Montreal.
Chris and Kim already know each other and the chemistry is palpable as soon as the two friends meet at the Alt Hotel Montreal. Kim explains to Chris that she will keep the places we are going to visit a secret until we get there as to surprise him, even though he has previously lived in Montreal for a year.
While we are all in the hotel lobby, ready to start filming, Kim decides on a whim that Chris must absolutely taste the baguette of La Bête à pain, a small bakery just across the street from Alt Hotel Montreal. It's the best baguette in town, she says.
Without another word, she runs out of the lobby, and Chris and I follow her, wondering if we have really just left the shoot to go get some bread. Kim runs across the street, zigzagging between cars, until she arrives at the bakery. Short of breath, she buys her baguette and a second after already has a piece in her mouth! We return to the hotel with crumbs on our clothes, ready for filming.
We invite Kim and Chris to ride a BIXI to get to our first stop. Kim tells us that the last time she used a bicycle, it ended badly: she fell on her face! "There was nothing on my way, I just fell," she says with a laugh. A few kilometers later, the epic journey into the Old Port ended well, without any accident, much to everyone's relief.
We arrive at Pepin Shop, one of Kim's favorite shop, where, according to the owner, Lysanne Pépin, the author is practically part of the furniture as she is often there.
While taking Chris for a tour of the shop, Kim shows him her favorite home fragrances, a house creation. "Lysanne asked me to suggest some perfume names. I scribbled some stuff and it ended up on bottles. I do not even know what I meant when writing them down!’’ Her favorite? "In the middle of green summer".
We continue with a Moroccan lunch prepared especially for our guests (and ridiculously delicious!) that Kim and Chris could not finish. "Virginie, come and have a bite. You have to taste everything", Kim tells me, handing me a spoon full of rice and vegetables. I sit down with our two guests and finish their plate, waiting to leave for our next destination.
Between two takes, the friends take the opportunity to make a funny photo to send to Chris's wife. Sitting in a lounge chair surrounded by tall plants, Chris pretends to be chilling instead of being hard at work, making Kim laugh a lot.
Next stop: we are having ice cream at Kem Coba! Kim says she found Kem Coba's name (yes, another one!). When the owner, her friend, told her that his wife (of Vietnamese origin) and he had bought this small business for the purpose of serving ice cream, she suggested they call it Kem, because the Vietnamese have trouble saying cream and rather say kem. Ah!
Once the dessert is over, we go get ... yet another meal!
Just across Kem Coba is Drogheria Fine, a place where we eat homemade gnocchi served with an incredibly tasty Bolognese sauce. Personally, it was my favorite stop of the day! I will go back without a doubt and with an empty stomach!
While the filming was supposed to end there, Kim suggests getting a bagel at Fairmount Bagel, next door, to finish their gnocchi sauce. "Don’t you think that we've eaten enough?", says Chris. "No, I’m still hungry" replies Kim with a laugh.
After having a few bagels, we all left, while the rain started to pour, and promised to see each other soon again.
Watch the ''One of the Family'' video with Kim Thuy and Chris Nuttall-Smith in Montreal.