Born and raised in Kamouraska, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, Normand Laprise developed an early respect for the fresh-picked products grown on his family’s farm. Local seasonal produce would go on to become the centrepiece of Toqué!, the award-winning restaurant he founded in 1993 with friend and business partner Christine Lamarche.
For nearly three decades, Normand Laprise has been seen as an authority and pioneer of Quebec gastronomy, putting fresh quality ingredients and traceability at the top of the menu by developing a close relationship with local producers. In recognition of his work, he was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in June 2009 and, in 2015, was inducted into the Order of Canada for his contribution to the promotion of Quebec cuisine. As well as pursuing the Toqué! adventure, chef Laprise is a frequent guest on many television shows and gives lectures to raise awareness—especially among the younger generations—on the importance of taking a critical look at what we eat and where it is coming from.
“Since my very beginnings as a chef, traceability and transparency have been top concerns to me. Right now, consumers are basically buying blindfolded. Having information allows us to choose to support the farmers and products that best match our values and to encourage local production. We know little about those who play such a huge part in our daily lives, and we need to tighten that gap between consumers and producers. One of the ways to do that is by opening up the channels of communication and getting the information out!” - Normand Laprise