a capital region that bridges culture and language
Chef Melanie Bourdon photographed on The Alexandra Bridge.
It was great to meet Franco-Ontarian and certified Red Seal Chef Melanie Bourdon the other day and even cooler to photograph her on the Alexandra Bridge. The bridge as a location made so much sense because Melanie was raised and educated on the Ottawa side of the river, but now proudly works on the Gatineau side for the Lac Leamy Casino at the Five Diamond restaurant Le Baccara. Melanie has always been a creative person, studying piano, trumpet and singing in her youth – but she’s really found her creative calling in the culinary arts.
Melanie not only loves Ottawa, but also the entire capital region – in so many respects having Gatineau, Quebec right across the river makes Ottawa an even more awesome city to love. Melanie and I spoke about how more people need to explore both sides of the river. Both Ottawa and Gatineau have so much to offer, and the Alexandra Bridge walking path offers such a wonderful panoramic view of both cities. Melanie also shared her thoughts about people comparing Ottawa to Toronto or Montreal – she doesn’t like it. “Let’s face it we’ll never be as big as them nor should we. We’ve got a small community vibe quality that you just can’t find in any other big city.”
© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project
Not surprisingly Melanie really loves what’s happening in the Ottawa food scene. She remembers when she first started working in the industry everything was pretty much happening in the Byward Market – now it’s spread nicely through out the city. “The new generation of chefs are seriously talented. There’s also the John Taylor generation; that man has done a great job helping to build great chefs in our city.” She’s really proud to see so many of her colleagues working hard at creating a better food scene in Ottawa.
Some of Melanie’s favourite restaurant places:
“When I go out to eat I like to look for high quality, fresh food that isn’t too fussy. If I’m in the mood for oysters and good tunes I’ll hit The Whalesbone and sit at the bar. ”
“People are getting more aware about what they eat these days. If I’m in the mood for some healthy grub Zen kitchen is a great spot. Their raw desserts are to die for!”
“For a good pint I would cross over the bridge and go to Bistro Gainsbourg in Hull. You’ve gotta try their scotch ale and blonde ale. These are by far my favourite beers in the city.”
Melanie like many, is also really looking forward to the opening of Fauna. “After everything they’ve been through (flood, rent issues, etc) we can’t wait til they open.”
Thanks so much to Melanie Bourdon for sharing what she loves about Ottawa and the capital region. She’s such a positive and creative force in the region’s food scene! For more information about Melanie you can follow her Linkedin Profile and/or her twitter at: @chefmelbourne