We sat down with Chef de Cuisine, John Forcier, from The French and asked him some questions about the inspiration behind his outstanding menu.
Where did you learn to cook?
I studied at George Brown for two years right out of high school. After that, I spent 8 years working in Toronto and learning under a number of incredibly talented chefs.
Where do you source your ingredients?
Unfortunately not everything that we use can be produced locally. Whenever possible though, I like to work with local farmers and producers such as Udder Way Cheese or Buttrum’s farm.
Do you look to any other chefs for inspiration?
Thomas Keller has always been very influential. He has an incredible eye for detail, a relentless pursuit for perfection, and a very enlightened sense of hospitality. I also admire chefs who truly value the well-being of their staff. Chefs like Magnus Nilsson, Satwant Singh have taken the initiative to focus on limiting the hours that their cooks and chefs work, while still providing a good wage and working conditions. I am also inspired every day by the people I work with. My sous chefs Hayley and Tom are incredibly talented and full of great ideas, as is our entire staff at The French.
I was drawn to Hamilton by the chance to open The French with Equal Parts Hospitality. Since moving here, I am in constant awe of the sense of community and camaraderie in this city. I feel like I have really embraced living in Hamilton and that Hamilton has embraced me right back.
What’s your favourite dish on the menu right now?
I’m a little bit obsessed with our rabbit terrine at the moment. It is rabbit confit which has been seasoned very simply with parsley, mustard, salt and pepper. It’s served with pickled carrots, sorrel (a very citrusy, flavourful herb), gribiche (tartar sauce meets egg salad) and some spiced flatbread. I think it is a very good representation of what we strive for at The French – simple things done well.
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