We are very pleased to have five inspiring women on our Marché des Possibles team this year! We wanted to find out more about the crew making the magic happen behind the scenes, so we decided to ask these five entrepreneurs to interview each other about their implication in the market as well as their day-to-day lives.
In this fourth profile, meet Mélissa Simard, food programmer, chef, entrepreneur and assistant to Maurín: Traiteur Local et de Saison, interviewed by Aïsha Vertus. Stay tuned for our fifth and final profile next week!
Aïsha Vertus: What makes food interesting?
Mélissa Simard: Food is interesting because it is often one of the pillars for bonding friends, families, cultures and lovers together. It is at once artful, and nourishing and reflects place, culture, local economies and social status. We look to it for comfort and familiarity but also for novelty and it is a basic need that we indulge in over and over day after day so life is so much better when you really enjoy it like all of the other sensual pleasures of living!
A: Since when have you been working in food industry?
M: I have been working in the food industry since 2005. I worked many years as a cook and I have owned my own food tour company since December 2012 called 'Round Table Food Tours.
A: Aside from food, what is your passion?
M: Aside from food, I am passionate about my dinner club – a group of friends that I get together with once a month to do a thematic meal. We've been doing it for 15 years – wait that's food! I'm passionate about my son Harvey, my time with my lover Jamie, my friends, riding a bike, cross-country skiing, being in nature and in the water when I can and visiting places I've never been to!
A: What are your highlights for MDP?
M: My highlights for MDP are definitely the Mexican Weekend including the taco competition June 29-July 1st. The taco competition day is a surprise so there is a lot of build-up. The competition is ferocious- and friendly and there is a lot of talent. Plus people get to vote, which gives it that extra extra and makes people want to taste more and weigh-in and ups the anti for the chefs. Plus I booked the very talented people making the desserts: Nelly Jimenez from La Tamalera making palettas and Odaliz Garcia making Mexican tamarind candies – my favourite!!! The vendors and culinary talent were booked by friend and collaborator Maurin Arellano Frellic who runs Maurin Traiteur de saison and La Centrale Culinaire (and is Mexican herself), in cooperation with myself! This is the third year of the taco competition and it is bigger every year!
I am also super stoked about the opening weekend in partnership with Les Femmes Chefs de Montréal. This weekend is the busiest and will highlight female culinary talent. Some of the female chefs include Maurin Arellano - fellow organizer, Melody Drastik of Mélograno cuisine urbaine, Mouna Joulali de l'étagère gourmande, Valérie Samson de traiteur fabuleux et Sarah Karook.
We also have a vegan weekend from July 6-8th that will be a draw for many interested in plant-based cuisine.