Montreal Food Writers, Editors, and Others Share Their Headline Predictions for 2021


As is tradition at Eater, we close the year by asking a group of food writers, bloggers, and others about town to weigh in on the year in food. Their answers — unedited (except for grammar) and in no particular order — will be revealed in several posts by the time the clock runs out on 2020. Here, they share their headline predictions for the year ahead.

Joanna Fox, food writer, and associate editor at ELLE Canada: More closures, unfortunately, but also more resilience.

Restaurants are suffering and will continue to do so throughout at least the first half of next year, but it’s bars I’m really worried about. They are literally on the brink of extinction in our city unless the government steps up to help them by changing the archaic alcohol rules and regulations — FOR EVERYONE. It’s ridiculous. How long is it going to take the government to wake the f-up?

The industry as a whole is going to change permanently and will be forced to diversify in the future so that the income model is not (and never will be again) solely based on food sales. Food service as we know it will never be the same. The bar and restaurant models will adapt to our brave new world, but it’s not going to be easy, and not without casualties along the way.

JP Karwacki, Time Out Montrealeditor: We’ll be hearing about more closures, but we’ll be hearing about restaurateurs moving forward with projects too; we’ll see chefs expanding their offerings with new businesses and innovations beyond grocery sections on menus and summer events; more chefs experimenting with comfort food and doing limited runs of products; but most of all, voices will only get louder and angrier over the lack of provisions for Quebec’s bars.

Iris Gagnon-Paradis, La Presserestaurant reporter: I think a lot of restaurant owners and chefs developed new side-projects that might become permanent; I think of places like Tinc Set, from Alma’s team, that would eventually become a restaurant of its own. I think there will be more restaurants or pop-ups focusing on simpler dishes or shorter menus that are easy to do in takeout, with formulas that are easy to adapt to different situations.

Alison Slattery, principal photographer, Two Food Photographers: It’s hard to predict what’s next, but if this pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that we are all more resilient when we act in care and solidarity with everyone. So we predict both innovations in service and product, but also in operations, accountability, community care, listening, etc. We look forward to seeing how restaurants continue to adapt during this pandemic and are cheerleading them all along the way!

Jason Lee, food blogger, Shut Up and Eat:
“Third-party delivery apps institute caps on delivery fees.”
“MAPAQ cracks down on unlicensed home-based catering and food businesses.”
“More restaurants construct roofs and install heating on terrasses to adhere to social distancing protocol creating legal indoor, outdoor dining spaces.”