The chef Tessier's children

Published on July 14 2018

*Behind every menu, product and experience, you’ll find passionate people and their stories. Discover these proud Outaouais ambassadors!

“When I graduated from the ITHQ (Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec), I knew two things: I wanted to teach, and I wanted to be a chocolatier.” His path was set. It took him a few years to achieve both objectives. The co-founder of ChocoMotive (with Luc Gielen) has been teaching at the École hôtelière de l’Outaouais culinary institute since 1989.

“It’s been just 30 years.” Just 30 years of teaching his students the basics of cooking, always with kindness and enthusiasm.

This passionate artisan doesn’t count the hours: he often stays late at the school, to the tacit disapproval of the security guard!

Gaetan Tessier is voluble when he talks about his former students, such as Dominic, who has carved out a place at the prestigious New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park; Florence, who won the gold medal at the last Olympiades québécoises des métiers et des technologies (Quebec Trades and Technology Olympiad); the students who came up with the idea of creating a food truck for Rockfest; and the former student who is now teaching with him.

“They’re all my children.”

Reinterpretation of a lemon pie: tarragon and spinach gelée, tarragon pastry cream. Citrus zest confit.

Every year, he and his team go on a gastronomic excursion to France and Spain. These educational trips (nourishing in every sense) open a lot of doors. If a former student calls Chef Tessier looking for a job somewhere in the world, he makes a point of reaching out to his contacts. It’s a network he has developed himself. “I’m the guy who stays in touch with young people. No matter where I go, all around the world, there’s someone I know.”

His source of pride? “Seeing my former students find good jobs, seeing them fulfil their potential. It’s like a pat on the back. The gratitude of my students is very rewarding. Ultimately, they are my real clients.”

Have students changed in 30 years? “In the last six or seven years, I’ve noticed that young people are placing more value on self care. They want a family life, a balance. Maybe they have the right idea. The important thing is to find what you love. Life is too short.”

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