CITY BITES LIVE! Join food editor Shawna Wagman for a unique “sugaring off” themed dinner with chefs from Montreal’s FoodLab
City Bites

CITY BITES LIVE! Join food editor Shawna Wagman for a unique “sugaring off” themed dinner with chefs from Montreal’s FoodLab

Chef Michelle Marek cutting the cake at FoodLab's first anniversary celebration. Photo credit: Mayssam Samaha,

The Montreal food world has been buzzing since the launch, a year ago, of FoodLab —the experimental playground for food inside Montreal’s SAT (Society for Arts and Technology, a gathering place for digital geeks).

In some ways it is so much more than a restaurant and in some ways it’s not really a restaurant at all. It has been alternately described as a kind of intersection between food and performance; a network of exchange between rurality and urbanity; and a platform for the production, exploration, and sharing of ideas surrounding gastronomy.

What everyone seems to agree upon is that it is the place to go for insanely delicious food in a funky and relaxed environment.


Chef Seth Gabrielse at work in the "lab". Photo credit: Mayssam Samaha,

At the helm of this creative culinary project are two noted chefs, Seth Gabrielse and Michelle Marek, both formerly of the Montreal bistro Laloux. Their Foodlab menus are deliberately short and always changing, based around themes — anything from a Swedish smorgasbord spread to Russian Easter to a recent ode to Chinatown. Imagine something like Grant Achatz’s “Next Restaurant” in Chicago, but with a more rapidly revolving set of themes!

So when we asked the chefs if they would be willing and able to transport the Foodlab experience to Ottawa, they said, hey, why not?

Since they are coming in early March, they designed the menu around Temps des Sucres or Sugaring-Off Season with an emphasis on celebrating Quebec terroir. They will bring along some very special local ingredients from Quebec farmers, foragers, and food producers as well as working with fresh fish and seafood from their favourite supplier, The Whalesbone.

Food editor Shawna Wagman will host the event in partnership with the urban element. The intimate dinner party format will allow for plenty of story-telling and discussion with the chefs in the kitchen throughout the evening so we can discover why Foodlab isn’t a normal restaurant.


Quebec Terroir “Temps des Sucres” FoodLab-style

Featuring: Chefs Michelle Marek and Seth Gabrielse

Hosted by: Ottawa Magazine Food Editor Shawna Wagman 

Cost: $150 pp (wine pairings included)

Where: Urban Element, 424 Parkdale Ave. 

When: Saturday, March 2, 6 – 9 p.m.

Register online:

Please note: The event will be limited to 18 guests. Reserve your spot now!

On the menu:

  • Whalesbone oysters with Preservation Society Caesar pickled celery sticks
  • Maple-smoked salmon with green buckwheat flour ployes, mimosa, chives and cream
  • Rye berry salad with roasted squash, kale, shallots, and Balconville vinaigrette
  • Echine de porc marinated in maple with burnt onion oil, grilled green onions, jus, and white vegetable puree
  • Fresh Quebec goat cheese with Boston lettuce and very special sunflower oil
  • Maple cream crepe cake with maple meringue brûlée