A picnic in the sun
Outdoor gatherings are finally being allowed, so Christian Bégin invites Ricardo and Stefano Faita to a park to catch up and share a good meal.
The last time they had the chance to get together and chat was at IGA’s virtual Christmas dinner
. Six months later, how’s everybody doing? Feeling? How’s business? And how do they see life after the pandemic?
The excitement level is high when the trio gets together for a picnic. An outing they particularly love.
“Because our summers are short, eating outside is one of the most beautiful ways to enjoy it, in my opinion.” – Christian
“I love outdoor dining because in general, we’re not expected to stay seated at the table. It’s less formal, more fun.” -Stefano
“In the last year, I’ve only had people over outside. I’ve taken such a liking to it that I’ll keep entertaining that way. It’s much less stressful…and less cleaning up to do in the house!” – Ricardo
Above: Stefano’s Souvlaki-style Greek salad.
To highlight St-Jean Baptiste Day, Stefano and Ricardo have come up with two recipes that have something in common: Quebec pork as the principal ingredient (and the pork sold at IGA is always local).
“I reimagined the concept of souvlaki into a Greek-inspired salad. The pork is served on the side, warm or cold, so each person can serve themselves. With homemade croutons and feta dip, it’s really delicious.” – Stefano
“I went to one of my classics: a pulled pork burger. In the summer we don’t want to have to think too much. So I cooked my pork in a slow cooker with my BBQ sauce. For a picnic I bring everything in a thermos so it’s still warm when we fill the buns.” Ricardo
“There’s no question about drinking from plastic cups! Even outside, I like to do things properly.” – Christian
“For me, organization is key. The morning of or the day before, I marinate the meat in a hermetique container that I can take with me to the park. Then all I have to do is grill it on my portable barbecue.” – Stefano
To finish the meal in style, Stefano and Ricardo each brought one of their delicious desserts from their summer product lines, exclusive to IGA.
“My tiramisu is inspired by a family recipe. With genoise sponge infused with coffee and mascarpone, this version is super versatile, keep one in the freezer at all times.” – Stefano
“My mother and mother-in-law always make pudding with seasonal berries and fruit. I’ve always found the duo of strawberry and rhubarb to be a winner, and that’s what I’ve chosen to launch the first one.” – Ricardo
Before leaving, the three friends take stock of the momentous year that’s passed, and how they see the future.
“My restaurants have really slowed down this past year, and I’ve even slowed down my cadence. I realized that I should spend more time for myself and with my family. Now that business has picked up again, I need to keep that in mind.” – Stefano
“For a long time now, I’ve wanted to develop a project in Kamouraska, where I have a house. I made this dream come true by opening a business that showcases the value of local producers. I feel like now, more than ever, people want to know where their food is coming from. It’s a good wake-up call that I hope will endure.” – Christian
“The pandemic has allowed me to pause. Yes, I have said in the past that I want to conquer the world, but I realised that today I want to be here. Even though I still intend to work hard, I’ll give myself the right to take things a little slower.” – Ricardo