© 2019 Beyond the Plate by Heidi Small.

Beyond Heidi Small

There is something about loss and the depths of despair that can bring on change and heal like no balm ever could.

It was exactly three years ago that I lost my father. A deadly and unforgiving brain tumour took him at the age of 71.

The lessons from my father are profound. In fact, they continue to shape me every day.

My father had this gift: He loved his life, the true elixir for happiness. I was taught by example to chase what impassions.

And on a freezing cold day in January, that’s exactly what I did. Which is how this monthly column was born.

If I close my eyes, I can hear my father saying, “That’s my girl!”

My father instilled in me an appreciation for nature and its bounty. His love for gardening was surpassed only by his passion for food. Our shared culinary interests led to many discussions of fresh seasonal ingredients and food preparation that almost always culminated in a family meal with love in every bite.

So three months ago, I wrote a love letter to the Montreal Gazette. 

I wrote about my deep appreciation for the city’s chefs. Montreal has become an international beacon for our culinary talent. And along with top chefs come dining aficionados, who care deeply about questions like: Where is this from? Is it local, seasonal, sustainable?

And an idea was born, or perhaps a seed was planted.

So starting now, I’ll be writing about some of the city’s best chefs. I will take them out of the kitchen on food adventures. I’ll tell you what motivates them, documenting their quest to transform their passions and desires into outstanding culinary experiences.