Ambiance residence: a cuisine to discover
Located in an exceptional environment, the Ambiance residence on L’Île-des-Sœurs [Nun’s Island] is also known for the quality of its cuisine. We met with Chef François Fournier-Rousseau.
Mr. Fournier-Rousseau, tell us about your background. How did you come to be at Ambiance?
I studied in the restaurant industry and after completing my training, I worked in several restaurants, mostly located on the South Shore. I started working for Le Groupe Maurice as a sous-chef, then as a chef at L’Avantage in Brossard. I arrived at the Ambiance residence in August 2020. Cooking is my passion, but I was tired of the stress and the schedules you have to follow when working in restaurants. It’s a volatile field, you’re never home and it’s hard to balance your work with your personal life. Being able to do the job I love in an environment like the Ambiance residence is the best of both worlds!
What do you especially enjoy about your role here?
At Le Groupe Maurice, we are given a lot of latitude, which is very stimulating. As a result, I can be as creative as I was in a restaurant! I try to bring my personal touch to the dishes and, above all, I want people to have fun eating. At Ambiance, people are epicurean, they like to discover new things. I was even surprised to see how much I could explore. This is a constant challenge for me, as I can share my passion.
What are some of the new things you have tried in the last few months?
First of all, we introduced a sort of culinary world tour. Once a week, we offer dishes from a particular country. So far, we’ve travelled through France, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Argentina and the Caribbean. Here again, I try to be original. For example, for Belgium, I wanted to move off the beaten track and cook something other than mussels and French fries. So I prepared a Flemish carbonade, a dish simmered with beef. People really appreciated it.
We also have more seasonal menus such as salad meals or sandwiches in the summer. And let’s not forget the salad bar, the pasta bar, the barbecue, etc. I’m trying to breathe new life and vitality into both the kitchen and the dining room.
The dining room is becoming more and more popular. In six months, you have gone from 198 to 225 meals served. How do you explain this success?
First, I would like to emphasize that this success is the result of teamwork. For my part, I believe I am able to share my passion for food and the fact that I want residents to have a good time. I am quite shy by nature, but I work on myself and try to reach out to them, to develop a connection with them. I find that they’re curious and want to know what they are eating; it makes me want to go above and beyond and get more involved. People seem happy to live here and come to enjoy good cuisine in the dining room. It really makes me proud and happy in turn…
Your passion is palpable. Thank you for this lovely interview and we hope you continue to be creative!