The continuous evolution of Jean-Philippe
*Behind every menu, product and experience, you’ll find passionate people and their stories. Discover these proud Outaouais ambassadors!
This is Jean-Philippe Ménard’s seventh season at Le Rituel restaurant, adjacent to Le Sorcier golf club, nestled in the woods of Gatineau. He started out as the sous-chef, moved up to chef, and has been the proud owner for three years now.
Jean-Philippe caught the restaurant bug at 14, on his first job: in the kitchens of La Lanterne café in Montebello. “I enjoy the drive you find in a kitchen, the rushes, the adrenalin.” After a few detours studying police techniques and mechanical engineering at Cégep, he returned to his first love.
From the Château Cartier to Rumeurs restaurant, from pantry chef to executive chef, Jean-Philippe has always been eager to learn, to progress and to improve. That motivation never leaves him. Recently, he’s been taking leadership training. “I find it really energizing. It encourages me to excel, to become a better person.”
Before the golf course was built 14 years ago, the extensive property was stocked with sugar maples. “We’ve been operating the sugar bush for five years. With 500 taps, we’re self-sufficient for all maple products. Not only are we working with a local product, but this operation allows us to keep our staff all year round, “says Jean-Philippe proudly. The year begins in February with Valentine’s Day, then comes maple sugar season, followed by other special menus. Golf is in full swing (pun intended!) from late April until October, and lunches and themed menus are all the rage. In November and December, the restaurant hosts group events, dinner theatre, and Christmas parties. There’s a brief lull in January, then the cycle starts up again!
“I’m happy. More and more often, people come to have a good meal and not just to play golf. The word is out: Le Rituel is a restaurant in its own right, with a high standard of quality.”
Credits: Sébastien Lavallée
What makes Jean-Philippe proud
“I like our team’s family spirit. We support each other. We’re a tight-knit group. My goal now is for the team to be happy, to blossom.”
What makes him most proud? “To have followed my instinct, my passion. I’m fulfilling a dream: owning a restaurant, but not at the expense of my values. I didn’t abandon my family or my friends; I stayed true to myself. And that’s what I want to convey to people.”