Alain Ethier

Chef Concierge, Le St-Sulpice Hotel Montreal

  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Alain has more than 25 years of experience in the Montreal hotel industry and has been a member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada for 12 years. He is driven by his passion for Five-Star service and a strong desire to exceed guests’ expectations. Alain was chef concierge for six years at Le St-James and has been at Le St-Sulpice Montreal since 2009, where, as chef concierge, he has to try about 100 Montreal restaurants, attractions and events every year. Alain is the editor of Les Clefs d’Or Canada’s newsletter as well as the group’s blog manager and Facebook administrator.

  • On November 9, 2016
    Priya Ghatol is now following Alain Ethier
  • On August 27, 2014
    Alain Ethier answered the question: Alain Ethier

    What are the best food gifts to buy in Montreal?

    La Face Cachée de la Pomme What makes a great food gift? First, you need fresh products that grow exceptionally well in your area. Second, local expertise or savoir-faire and tradition. Third, a little twist that makes the end-product different from what's done anywhere else. And finally, it has to be easy to pack in your luggage and be able to travel well. Following this concept, here are my choices for best food gifts from Montreal.

    Let’s start this list with alcoholic beverages, since my first suggestion is Ice Cider! Following the example of Niagara’s Icewine, Quebec growers have now mastered the art of picking apples as late as January, when they are frozen and covered with snow, and make this refined product called ice cider. Great as an aperitif or in lieu of a dessert wine, ice cider accompanies with panache and enhances the flavors of cheeses, chocolates, foie gras and desserts. Among the best, let’s note Neige Première and Pinnacle Signature. It’s the perfect food gift to carry in your luggage and it makes a great gift or souvenir!

    While on the subject of alcohol, the local beers from micro-breweries are booming in the Montreal region. Why not discover their great tastes and varieties and bring your favorites back home to make your friends discover the taste of Quebec! Many markets are specialized in micro-brewery beers and can offer great advice as well as a very large selection of locally-made beers. For example, the little Marché Station 54, just across the street from my house, offers 450 different beers, most of them from local micro-breweries!

    Maple syrup is our greatest pride, as far as agricultural products are concerned. This sweet syrup is unsurpassed for taste and refinement at the breakfast table! You can purchase nice gift bottles of maple syrup at Maple Delights Stores, located in Old-Montreal and at Trudeau Airport, also at Jean-Talon or Atwater Farmer’s Markets and in most gift shops worthy of this name. Maple Delights also makes maple leaf shaped chocolates, filled with maple syrup or maple sugar; the dark chocolate ones are my favorite!

    Smoked Meat, although best eaten freshly cooked on the premises, moist and hot, can also make a great food gift to bring back home. Chances are that one of your friends who has been to Montreal before, may have begged you to bring him back a brisket of Montreal style smoked meat; it’s that good! You can buy vacuum-sealed, ready-to-travel-across-the-border, briskets of smoked meat at Schwartz or at Lesters.

    Bagels. Because we seriously think that Montreal bagels are better than New York’s! While the discussion on that subject has been going on for ages, you should definitely try them and bring some back for next Sunday’s brunch at your house! Two major bakers fight for the title of best in the city: Fairmount Bagels and St-Viateur Bagels. My heart goes to Fairmount, but really, they are both amazing!

    Our Province has been producing great cheeses, some of them rivaling with the best French cheeses for the refinement of their taste and their quality. Oka, Pied de Vent and Migneron are at the top of my list of local cheeses but you have more than 300 different Quebec cheeses to choose from!

    Enjoy your shopping and try not to eat or drink them yourselves before you actually do offer them as gifts!
  • On August 25, 2014
    Alain Ethier is now following the question:
  • On August 25, 2014
    Alain Ethier answered the question: Alain Ethier

    What are the best food gifts to buy in Montreal?

    La Face Cachée de la Pomme What makes a great food gift? First, you need fresh products that grow exceptionally well in your area. Second, local expertise or savoir-faire and tradition. Third, a little twist that makes the end-product different from what's done anywhere else. And finally, it has to be easy to pack in your luggage and be able to travel well. Following this concept, here are my choices for best food gifts from Montreal.

    Let’s start this list with alcoholic beverages, since my first suggestion is Ice Cider! Following the example of Niagara’s Icewine, Quebec growers have now mastered the art of picking apples as late as January, when they are frozen and covered with snow, and make this refined product called ice cider. Great as an aperitif or in lieu of a dessert wine, ice cider accompanies with panache and enhances the flavors of cheeses, chocolates, foie gras and desserts. Among the best, let’s note Neige Première and Pinnacle Signature. It’s the perfect food gift to carry in your luggage and it makes a great gift or souvenir!

    While on the subject of alcohol, the local beers from micro-breweries are booming in the Montreal region. Why not discover their great tastes and varieties and bring your favorites back home to make your friends discover the taste of Quebec! Many markets are specialized in micro-brewery beers and can offer great advice as well as a very large selection of locally-made beers. For example, the little Marché Station 54, just across the street from my house, offers 450 different beers, most of them from local micro-breweries!

    Maple syrup is our greatest pride, as far as agricultural products are concerned. This sweet syrup is unsurpassed for taste and refinement at the breakfast table! You can purchase nice gift bottles of maple syrup at Maple Delights Stores, located in Old-Montreal and at Trudeau Airport, also at Jean-Talon or Atwater Farmer’s Markets and in most gift shops worthy of this name. Maple Delights also makes maple leaf shaped chocolates, filled with maple syrup or maple sugar; the dark chocolate ones are my favorite!

    Smoked Meat, although best eaten freshly cooked on the premises, moist and hot, can also make a great food gift to bring back home. Chances are that one of your friends who has been to Montreal before, may have begged you to bring him back a brisket of Montreal style smoked meat; it’s that good! You can buy vacuum-sealed, ready-to-travel-across-the-border, briskets of smoked meat at Schwartz or at Lesters.

    Bagels. Because we seriously think that Montreal bagels are better than New York’s! While the discussion on that subject has been going on for ages, you should definitely try them and bring some back for next Sunday’s brunch at your house! Two major bakers fight for the title of best in the city: Fairmount Bagels and St-Viateur Bagels. My heart goes to Fairmount, but really, they are both amazing!

    Our Province has been producing great cheeses, some of them rivaling with the best French cheeses for the refinement of their taste and their quality. Oka, Pied de Vent and Migneron are at the top of my list of local cheeses but you have more than 300 different Quebec cheeses to choose from!

    Enjoy your shopping and try not to eat or drink them yourselves before you actually do offer them as gifts!
  • On August 25, 2014
    Alain Ethier answered the question: Alain Ethier

    What are the best food gifts to buy in Montreal?

    La Face Cachée de la Pomme What makes a great food gift? First, you need fresh products. Second, local expertise or savoir-faire. Third, a little twist that makes the end-product different from anywhere else. And finally, it has to be easy to pack in your luggage and travel well. Following this concept, here are my choices for best food gifts from Montreal.

    Let’s start this list with alcoholic beverages, since my first suggestion is Ice Cider! Following the example of Niagara’s Icewine, Quebec growers have now mastered the art of picking apples as late as January, when they are frozen and covered with snow, and make this refined product called ice cider. Great as an aperitif or in lieu of a dessert wine, ice cider accompanies with panache and enhances the flavors of cheeses, chocolates, foie gras and desserts. Among the best, let’s note Neige Première and Pinnacle Signature. It’s the perfect food gift to carry in your luggage and it makes a great gift or souvenir!

    While on the subject of alcohol, the local beers from micro-breweries are booming in the Montreal region. Why not discover their great tastes and varieties and bring your favorites back home to make your friends discover the taste of Quebec! Many markets are specialized in micro-brewery beers and can offer great advice as well as a very large selection of locally-made beers. For example, the little Marché Station 54, just across the street from my house, offers 450 different beers, most of them from local micro-breweries!

    Maple syrup is our greatest pride, as far as agricultural products are concerned. This sweet syrup is unsurpassed for taste and refinement at the breakfast table! You can purchase nice gift bottles of maple syrup at Maple Delights Stores, located in Old-Montreal and at Trudeau Airport, also at Jean-Talon or Atwater Farmer’s Markets and in most gift shops worthy of this name. Maple Delights also makes maple leaf shaped chocolates, filled with maple syrup or maple sugar; the dark chocolate ones are my favorite!

    Smoked Meat, although best eaten freshly cooked on the premises, moist and hot, can also make a great food gift to bring back home. Chances are that one of your friends who has been to Montreal before, may have begged you to bring him back a brisket of Montreal style smoked meat; it’s that good! You can buy vacuum-sealed, ready-to-travel-across-the-border, briskets of smoked meat at Schwartz or at Lesters.

    Bagels. Because we seriously think that Montreal bagels are better than New York’s! While the discussion on that subject has been going on for ages, you should definitely try them and bring some back for next Sunday’s brunch at your house! Two major bakers fight for the title of best in the city: Fairmount Bagels and St-Viateur Bagels. My heart goes to Fairmount, but really, they are both amazing!

    Our Province has been producing great cheeses, some of them rivaling with the best French cheeses for the refinement of their taste and their quality. Oka, Pied de Vent and Migneron are at the top of my list of local cheeses but you have more than 300 different Quebec cheeses to choose from!

    Enjoy your shopping and try not to eat or drink them yourselves before you actually do offer them as gifts!
  • On August 24, 2014
    Alain Ethier is now following Montreal
  • On July 2, 2014
    Kaley Johannesson is now following Alain Ethier
  • On February 5, 2014
  • On February 5, 2014
    Alain Ethier answered the question: Alain Ethier

    What are the best Montreal food experiences?

    Lobster capuccino at Europea! Montreal is on most foodies’ list of cities to visit because of its French heritage of great food. Here are five must-do experiences if food is the purpose of your trip to Montreal:

    1- The tasting menu at Restaurant Europea A feast for all your senses as you are guided through this 10-course dinner which usually ends up being a 12 or 14 courses experience, depending on the inspiration du moment of their two celebrated chefs, Jérôme Ferrer and Patrice De Felice!

    Amazing delicacies are brought before you, each one in a different manner and with great creativity, by the professional and highly skilled staff. You will never see the same plate twice, as your food  will be displayed, once on a plate, a slate, a cone, under a glass bell, on a river rock, in a treasure chest, on a mini-clothesline along with mini-clothespins, in a crockpot on a bed of hay , on a stick, in a shell of clay that you will break with the provided hammer, even inside a book!

    2- Poutine: The now worldwide known dish was invented here, in the province of Quebec, and has recently evolved into a gourmet dish. First, there are the basic three ingredients: Fries, brown gravy and squeeky cheese curds. Then you have the modern gourmet versions that may include, pulled pork (My favorite!), foie gras, lobster, bacon, steak, General Tao chicken, chorizo, merguez and, of course, smoked meat! Coming up soon is Poutine Week in Montreal, from February 1st to 7th.

    For the classic, no-nonsense type, you may go to La Banquise, Patati-Patata, Lafleur, Paulo et Suzanne, Poutineville, La Cabane, Montreal Pool Room or any place known for great fries. For the gourmet or high-class poutine, you should try Au Pied de Cochon, Garde-Manger, Mechant Boeuf, Brouhaha or Frites Alors.

    3- Smoked Meat:  Montreal style smoked meat is cured in seasoning with cracked peppercorns and aromatic spices and much less sugar than the New York style Pastrami and it is made with brisket. The best delis pride themselves in serving traditional smoked meat, cured, smoked and sliced by hand. The smoked meat sandwich is served on rye bread with yellow mustard. The best and most authentic experience is found at Schwartz Deli, where there is a waiting line all day long and you are seated next to strangers, at long tables of 6 or 8 people. The classic order there is a smoked meat sandwich (Medium is strongly suggested but I prefer Lean), French fries, a dill pickle and a Black Cherry Coke! Some people will tell you that the best smoked meat is found at Main Deli, Reubens, Dunns or Briskets... and they may be right!

    4- Bagels: Again, there is a debate between Montrealers and Newyorkers about who has the best bagels. I’ll let you be the judge of that but the city is known for great tasting fresh bagels. Another age-old debate is about the best place to buy bagels: Fairmount or Saint-Viateur. Both of them are pick-up and go places where the hot bagels go directly from the huge open-fire wood-oven to your bag. Both are open 24 hours a day and have been there for ever! Saint-Viateur recently opened a café on Mont-Royal Avenue, where you can actually sit down and eat your bagels with a nice coffee.

    5- Jean-Talon and Atwater Farmer’s Markets: Open all year-round, 7 days a week, you will find amazingly fresh products from the Province of Quebec, brought to you directly from the farmers and producers themselves. Quebec maple syrup, ice ciders, Quebec cheeses, arrtisan sausages, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Small shops cook traditional Quebec recipes with local products. It’s a great place for foodies to spend an afternoon of discoveries.
  • On January 15, 2014
    Alain Ethier answered the question: Alain Ethier

    What is the Montreal Metro like?

    Montrealers are very proud of the Montreal Metro network. It is one of the safest and cleanest in the world. The trains are comfortable and not noisy at all because they run on electricity and are set on rubber tires instead of metal wheels, thanks to the rails being entirely indoors and underground.
     
    I often recommend my adventurous guests to try it at least once during their stay just to experience it, even if they are used to taking taxis everywhere, because it is an integral part of the Montreal fabric. It is a link to many parts of the Underground City, a large network of tunnels that connects the downtown shopping malls, office buildings, cultural centers and concert venues.
     
    It is also an economical and efficient way to access some of the major attractions of Montreal that are away from the downtown core, such as the Biodome, Olympic Stadium, Botanical Gardens, Notre-Dame and St-Helene Islands, which are the site of the Montreal Formula One Grand Prix race in June, the Snowfest (Fete des Neiges) and many outdoor activities in the winter and the Casino all year round, just to name a few!
     
    The basic cost of a transfer is $3 for an adult but you can also purchase one day ($10), three days ($18) or weekend ($13) passes. All tickets allow you to transfer from the Metro to the city bus system. As an added value to travelers, note that the 24 hours, 3 days and Weekend passes include access to the #747 shuttle bus to and from the airport!
     
    The arts and architecture buffs should know that the design of each station was done by a different architect and that pieces of art were integrated in most stations, making each Metro station unique and worth discovering.
     
    Many luxury tourists want to see the city they visit as a local and are seeking off-the-beaten-paths experiences; Taking the Montreal Metro is a great way to see how the locals go about the city in their everyday life and making the travel as interesting as the destination.
  • On January 11, 2014
    Alain Ethier posted:

    Happy to see that more hotels in Québec are about to be rated by Forbes Travel Guide. Le Cristal in Montréal, L'Auberge St-Antoine and Le Bonne Entente in Québec City are scheduled to be visited by Forbes Inspectors in the near future. Hopefully many more hotels and restaurants with four and five star ratings!

  • On January 9, 2014
    Alain Ethier is now following Hotel Le St-James
  • On January 9, 2014
    Alain Ethier is now following Maison Boulud
  • On January 8, 2014
    Alain Ethier is now following Lorraine Mallinder
  • On January 8, 2014
    Alain Ethier is now following Shauna Sartori