In is native France, Jean-Luc has started his apprenticeship at the age of 15 and has obtained a certificate of professional skills in cuisine (CAP) in 1973. He had the privilege to work with a trainer who saw his immense potential and presented him with various training opportunities. Every Friday, he would take Jean-Luc to the fish market to teach him to distinguish the best sea fish catches from the less fresh pieces. Each night, after service, he makes him taste a new wine to learn the basics of wine tasting and the importance of knowing the pairing of wine and food. Jean-Luc will then do different jobs in cuisine to add to his experience while doing his military service as a cook at the Officers Mess.
In 1976, already passionate of travel and discoveries, Jean-Luc Boulay acquires a permanent work visa for Québec and becomes the Chef of restaurant Le Boeuf Charolais of Loews Le Concorde Hotel where he meets the love of his life: Linda Therrien. She will become his accomplice, his associate, his travel partner, his inspiration and his most severe critic and admirer. They have three children together and two grand-children.
In 1978, Jean-Luc meets Jacques Fortier who makes him the proposal to open a new restaurant in Old Québec. The French restaurant Le Saint-Amour offers a diversified high quality cuisine at great price value and is an instant hit. Refusing to rest on their laurels, the two partners will work relentlessly with the support of their loyal employees and their families to constantly improve all facets of their operation to reflect Jean-Luc’s passion for culinary art.
To nourish his passion and perfect his art, each year, starting in the 80’s, Jean-Luc would attend the most renowned culinary schools (Le Nôtre in Paris, Cacao Barry in Meulan, seminars in Italy…). The goal of the two associates to stay on top of all new culinary trends and techniques and to bring this knowledge to the plates of Le Saint-Amour restaurant will result in making it a gastronomical destination not to be missed in the early 90’s. From now on, the distinctions and honors will surge. In 2003, Jean-Luc Boulay is awarded National Chef of the year by The Society of Pastry Chefs and Cooks of the Province of Québec after having been crowned three times as best Chef of his region. Then, in 2010 he received the Mérite Agricole de France medal, the Governor General’s Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table recognizing the importance of his work as a mentor and as an ambassador of the Canadian gastronomy. They also had the honour of welcoming and serving international stars like Sting, Paul McCartney and Johnny Halliday.
His great friend, Chef Jérôme Ferrer from Europea Group (Relais et Châteaux) invited him to enter the pantheon of this prestigious association of great professional Master Cooks of France. Jean-Luc Boulay is also member of several renowned gastronomic associations such as Les Disciples d’Escoffier.
Besides developing his restaurant, Jean-Luc Boulay has participated to many gastronomic events (Japan, Kuala Lumpur, Belgium, Singapor, Spain, Vancouver Olympic Games, Martinique etc.) to present Québec’s regional products and local cuisine.
He is also very passionate about training successors by giving different seminars on “sous-vide” cooking, cold cut meats and foie gras, while supervising the rigorous training of the apprentices and professionals eager to participate to different competitions in Québec and abroad.
Volunteering is a part of his nature and he supports a lot of charitable organizations such as La Fondation Serge Bruyère, Adaptavie, The Red Cross, Young musicians of the World and writing a book on how to cook with ingredients against cancer etc.
If he has participated in creating a lot of cooking books during the last few years, “The Gourmet World of Jean-Luc Boulay” is the first book of his own.Source : Anne-Louise Desjardins