Where the River Narrows: Classic French and Québécois Recipes from St. Lawrence Restaurant
by J-C Poirier with Joie Alvaro Kent
From the acclaimed and multi award-winning chef J-C Poirier of St. Lawrence restaurant comes a stunning, lyrical cookbook with over 125 recipes that celebrate the classic dishes of Québec and France.
Where the River Narrows is a loving homage to Chef Jean-Christophe (J-C) Poirier’s home province, Québec—the phrase is a direct translation of the Algonquin word “kebec,” describing the area around Québec City where the St. Lawrence River is hemmed in by towering cliffs. Québec is where J-C’s love for the nostalgic beauty of French cooking began. In his debut cookbook, he shares recipes from both cultures, Québécois and French, and the intersections between them—whether from the menu of his Michelin-starred Vancouver restaurant, St. Lawrence, or his kitchen at home.
With over 125 beautifully photographed recipes, J-C provides a full look at French and Québécois cooking with classic dishes like Tourtière, Pot-au-Feu, Tarte au Sucre, and Tarte Tatin, along with bistro favourites like Steak with Peppercorn Cream Sauce and Chocolate Mousse that your friends and family are sure to love. For those who are devoted fans of St. Lawrence, where J-C showcases time-honoured traditions in a transportive dining experience, readers will find his signature dishes, like the famous Pâté en Croûte, Coquilles St-Jacques à la Parisienne, and Tarte au Citron Flambée au Pastis. Readers seeking reliable recipes for the basics and mother sauces of French cuisine can earmark the Chef ’s Essentials chapter as their go-to resource. And to finish it off, a Menus section with suggestions for pairing dishes, selecting wine, and other tips and tricks, will help you pull off the feast of your dreams. Interspersed throughout are essays where J-C shares the full breadth of his culinary experience, his life as a chef and restaurateur, and how he cooks for his family at the end of a long day. With his magnetic yet dry sense of humour, you’ll hear J-C’s voice as you recreate his most beloved dishes. Whether you’re an adventurous home cook or an armchair traveller, this enchanting book is just as much a pleasure to read as it is to cook from.
About the Authors:
J-C Poirier began his culinary career in Montéal, Québec, under Chef Normand Laprise, quickly moving up through the ranks at Toque! In 1994, J-C moved to Vancouver, working with Rob Feenie and Marc-André Choquette at Lumière, before opening the award-winning Chow restaurant in 2007. In late 2013, J-C and his team opened Ask For Luigi, a casual and intimate Italian-inspired restaurant. But the food of his home province was J-C’s true passion, and he opened St. Lawrence in June 2017 to great fan-fare. Located in Railtown, Vancouver, St. Lawrence spotlights both classic French dishes and J-C’s favourite recipes from his childhood in Québec. Since launching St. Lawrence, J-C has led the restaurant to rave reviews, critical acclaim, and numerous accolades including: a Michelin star, Best Restaurant and Best New Restaurant at the 2018 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards; the No. 4 spot on enRoute magazine’s 2018 list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants; and Chef of the Year, Best Restaurant, Best Gastown and Best French titles at the 2019 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. The restaurant was also singled out for the No. 2 spot on the 2020 compilation of Canada’s Top 100 Restaurants, after being ranked No. 20 on the 2018 list, and was named as one of Monocle magazine’s 50 Favourite Restaurants in the World in its 2019 Drinking & Dining Directory.
Joie Alvaro Kent is the co-author of Maenam: A Fresh Approach to Thai Cooking with Angus An. A food and beverage writer and culinary awards judge based in Vancouver, British Columbia, her work has been featured in Nuvo magazine, Eater, Best Places Vancouver, Vancouver magazine, and Monticristo magazine. Joie is a sipper of Boulevardiers, habitual daydreamer, and full-contact eater.