Owner Pastry Chef, at Pâtisserie Rhubarbe , Montreal.
A book can change your life … just ask Stéphanie Labelle. After studying pure and applied science in college, she picked up Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential and the future pastry chef was born. Drawn to the passions of cooking, she enrolled in the pastry program at the Institut tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ).
ITHQ diploma in hand, she went on to study urban planning at Concordia University while working part-time at Les Chocolats de Chloé. On the summer break, she made her way to Paris for work with the great French pastry chef at Maison Pierre Hermé, then at the peak of his creativity. This marked a turning point in her career.
She felt herself to be a real pastry-maker, no longer just in her heart but in her soul as well.
After Paris came New York, where she took on strenuous internships at Room 4 Dessert and Chez David Boulay. Back in Montréal, she decided to explore the restaurant world with the man she would come to consider her “master”, Bertrand Bazin, as well as Hans Brouillet at 357. These chefs helped her gain self-confidence and her sense of the profession. She delved into a variety of creative endeavours, from catering to dishes and desserts, wedding cakes to mignardises, croissants, bread, and ice cream. Two and a half years later, she joined Samuel Pinard at Salle à manger to take over the breads and dessert menu.
Just one year after that, Stéphanie Labelle opened a place of her own in Plateau Mont-Royal, Pâtisserie Rhubarbe.
“I love maple for its great range of flavours! Every shade of colour, from extra light to darker, has its distinct character. My favourite is still extra light, to enjoy just as it is. I use medium for cooking. It goes so well with sea buckthorn and apples. To me, maple is, all at once, the product of a unique climate, an exceptional ingredient, and a source of great pride for Québec.”
“Maple’s always been a part of my life, something that I use almost every day. There’s five of us at home and we go through a can a week! To make sure syrup doesn’t drip in the fridge and make it all sticky, we’ll lick the can!”