Culinary History 1989 – 2015
During the late 1980s to 2000, Chef JP Challet received international acclaim for his cuisine. Publications including Gourmet, W, The Washington Post, a slew of Canadian papers, and The Wall Street Journal described his cuisine as “lavish” and “heavenly”. He was executive chef at some of the most renowned restaurants in Ontario including Inn at Manitou, The Founder’s Club and Auberge du Pommier.
In 2002, Chef JP Challet opened his first restaurant, Bouchon, characterized by a shareable menu of creative dishes at an affordable price. During this time, he was invited to cook at The James Beard House three times as an international star chef representing Canada.
At Bouchon, Chef Challet continued to grow his international reputation as a remarkably talented French Chef. Food and travel writer Jeremy Ferguson, a regular contributor to The Toronto Star, wrote “It may be a new era in Toronto to see a chef on this level of creativity offering his years of experience and refinement at prices affordable to the average person. It’s like running out to an art show and finding a Renoir at the price of a black velvet”. This affordable pricing along with a shareable menu of well executed dishes earned Chef Challet a loyal following of critics and customers.
As Executive Chef at The Fifth from 2004 to 2008, Chef JP Challet offered tasting menus with wine pairings. This was a period when he began adding wine to his culinary repertoire. His collaboration with The Fifth’s sommelier aided in creating a complete gastronomic experience for diners. James Chatto described his cooking as “suave, lucid, balancing finesse with clever references to a classic French cuisine.”
2009 to 2014 was a period of new heights for Chef JP Challet at his 24-seat Ici Bistro. His “cuisine nouveau classique” of shareable dishes with wine pairings gained him incredible buzz in the city as well as loyal fans from customers to critics alike. He became known for “his mission to re-organize classic French recipes into something lighter, cleaner and more interesting”. The late Gina Mallet of National Post wrote, “Challet took his deconstruction of classic French with him to Ici Bistro, only 24 seats, which is now my restaurant of the year.”
This was how the story of Chef JP Challet’s cuisine unfolded over 20 years. It began with Chef Challet’s rise to international culinary fame in early 1990s followed by the success of his first restaurant, Bouchon and tenure at The Fifth. Two decades after establishing his culinary career in Canada, Chef Challet reached a new pinnacle at Ici Bistro for his “Cuisine Nouveau Classique”. What will a new tenure at The Fifth bring for Chef JP Challet?