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Olivier Perret, a chef with a lot on his plate Olivier Perret, a chef with a lot on his plate

Olivier Perret, a chef with a lot on his plate

Representative of the sum of his experiences in Europe and North America, the cuisine of Olivier Perret- chef of the Sofitel Hotel Montreal, Restaurant Renoir - combines North American creativity with European refinement. His dishes are built around traditional Quebec fare and are consistently embellished with a French touch.
“I never really wanted to be a chef,” admits Olivier Perret, who has been at the head of the restaurant Renoir for the past five years. Originally from Burgundy, he established his taste for cooking during adolescence alongside his grandmother. He spent a part of his youth at his regional farmers markets, “selling mushrooms.” It was during this period that he developed his affinity for local, seasonal products.

Chef Perret began his culinary training later, at the age of 21. After obtaining a CAP Cuisine, he started at the Lyonnais restaurant La Tasse as an apprentice, then he became a cook at Bouchon. After a few years in Rhône-Alpes, his desire to escape brought him to Quebec- Montreal more precisely. There, he worked for several French restaurants and met his wife-to-be.

In 2002, he participated in the opening of Sofitel Montreal and joined the Renoir restaurant team. He would take command a few years later. In 2007, his career evolved: he left for the US and occupied the post of Executive sous-chef at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower. He joined the Sofitel Washington Lafayette Square the following year. In 2011, he resumed his position as a chef at Renoir. 
“I never really wanted to be a chef"
Olivier Perret, a chef with a lot on his plate
His signature? Delicate, savory dishes crafted around local, seasonal ingredients. Three years ago, after falling seriously ill, Olivier Perret directed all of his energy toward the creation of a “health menu” targeted at his clientele: shellfish, fish, steamed vegetables, few sauces, not too much sugar or salt… “I got so carried away with my passion for cooking that I forgot about my health,” he said, “I consulted many nutritionists who helped me understand how to better feed myself.”

This year, the restaurant hosted the biggest gastronomic festival in Montreal, and hired the chef and sous-chef of Maison Paul Bocuse, a 3-Michelin-star restaurant. But the chef’s biggest honors lately were the two Toques awarded by Gault and Millau, and a rating of 14/20, the best grade out of the hotel restaurants in Montreal: “We even beat Daniel Boulud, the famous Lyonnais chef based in New York, had to do it!”, he jokes. “I hope that this grade will allow us to attract more tourists.” For the moment, the restaurant welcomes a large clientele of business people, but also starlets and politicians- the Canadian Prime Minister recently came to taste chef Perret’s dishes. 

Humility, listening, and generosity are the three qualities that a great chef should possess, according to one who feels “like a fish in water” in the kitchen. “My goal is to continue to take pleasure in my job,” concludes Olivier Perret. “The day where I’m not having fun anymore, I’ll do something else.”

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