Frédéric Morin is co-owner and co-founder of the Joe Beef Group – Joe Beef, Liverpool House, Vin Papillon, McKiernan, Joe Beef products and +++. Together with his wife Allison Cunningham and former partner David McMillan, he has succeeded in putting Montreal on the map as a food capital of the world. Recently, Fred and Allison acquired the majority of the shares in the famous group. After this exceptionally difficult pandemic, we wanted to meet the chef who, after several years, is back in management and in the kitchen of his restaurant; because like all people, when you have a business, it’s a lifelong project!
Frédéric Morin grew up in Cartierville, and never thought he would work in the restaurant industry. After high school, Fred studied agriculture for three years at the Institut de Technologie Agricole and quickly developed a passion for greenhouses. It was his accounting teacher, Claude Barnabé, who, always noticing him writing recipes in the ledger, one day asked him why he didn’t enroll in a cooking school instead; a great idea. At the time, it was too late to enroll at the ITHQ, and so Frédéric enrolled at the École hôtelière des Laurentides. “It was the last cohort of former French chefs to arrive for Expo 67.” He was 19 years old, and it was hard for him to be alone in the countryside and feel good. He was still far from being ready to open a restaurant, but had a passion for horticulture and agriculture.
Fred also developed a passion for old French cookbooks and an interest in culinary know-how. “A favourite is not rational. I grew up with Louis de Funès’ films. The procession or the procedure, the unfolding of a French meal, this ritual is fascinating to me. In Quebec, we don’t really have a gastronomic culture as such, we have a survival and settlers’ cuisine from which we borrow and integrate certain things. And with a French-Belgian mother, I quickly identified with this French cuisine for which I am still passionate.”