Restaurant Auberge Des Appalaches : Local Sourcing on the Menu
Located on Chemin Maple, in Sutton, near the ski hill and hiking trails, you’ll find the Auberge des Appalaches with its French Alps ski chalet ambiance. However, inside the somewhat vintage decor of its dining room, where a magnificent stone fireplace takes centre stage, chef Christian Beaulieu serves a very local cuisine.
As I arrive for a visit, Patricia Gérard, the establishment owner, warmly welcomes me. She gives me a tour of her inn, and takes a moment to show me the view of the mountains from the restaurant’s dining area. “The most beautiful viewing area for admiring our sunsets,” she says.
She then finds her chef in the kitchen and introduces him to me as he wipes his hands on his apron to enthusiastically shake mine. Christian Beaulieu has been the chef at Auberge des Appalaches for more than a year now, but is well-known in the region for his work at Auberge Sutton Brouërie, and for having owned two restaurants in Sutton for many years.
To encourage local sourcing has always been part of his values as a chef, but at Auberge des Appalaches, it has taken precedence as he continually offers regionally grown food in his creations.
Photo : Patrice Didier
“Fifteen years ago, we didn’t talk about this as much as today, but now it has become a priority; You cannot be a regional chef and not use local products, or cook with vegetables, the guy is growing two kilometres down the road,” explains this colourful character. “The products can’t be any fresher! I tear up with joy when Benoit of Jardins du Pied de Céleri digs out his first carrot for me in early summer. As I taste it, I know it’s so not the same as the products I’d buy from a big food wholesaler! Local products are packed with love!”
Benoit of Jardins du Pied de Céleri, Lisa of La Ferme Verte, Maude-Hélène and Jean-Martin of Jardins de la Grelinette, Yan of the Potagers des nues mains, Frédéric and Yoana of Jardins de Tessa, Sandra and Luc Ducs of Montrichard ; These are some of the producers Christian works with and with whom he has created strong relationships over time.
Photo : Patrice Didier
“During the summer, every Thursday, I go to Dunham for my vegetables. I take a moment to chat with the producers. Over the years, we’ve established a solid friendship. He doesn’t need to call me each following year to ask me if I still want to do business with him. On the menu, I make it a point to write the names of the producers I work with,” says the 55-year-old chef who has lived in the area for the last 14 years.
If working with small producers requires some adapting, and prices might be higher on the menu, which sometimes surprises our customers, Christian is convinced that local sourcing is the way to go for the future.
“I think that if everybody starts, for example, if people only bought Quebec-grown lamb, even though it’s more expensive now, eventually prices will go down. We’ve reached that point. If you don’t encourage growing tomatoes here, you won’t get tomatoes grown here.
We encourage our local producers and they encourage us as well. We make things move forward together and the model will become more and more viable for everyone,” he assures us.
“The movement also continues in the dining area. All our staff is able to talk to our customer about the products we use,” adds the owner, Patricia Gérard. “They have a better understanding of what they’re eating and its value. When we tell them that, in season, 90% of their plate’s content comes from less than 100 kilometres away, they say: “WOW!”.”
… and so do we!