One Day in Montreal: Top Chef Canada competitor Jo Notkin

The chef-owner of Zoe Ford Catering shares her favourite places to dine in Montreal

Last week, Top Chef Canada revealed its upcoming Season 8 cast of competitors, featuring a mix of chefs and restaurateurs from across the country. Jo Notkin, chef-owner of Zoe Ford Catering, will be one of two cheftestants representing Montreal, Quebec. 

Even before becoming one of the city’s premier caterers, Notkin has had experience in a range of industries; from being a jewellery creator for Aldo shoes in her late teens to being a champion oyster shucker in her 20s, to a being a designer and manufacturer of sustainable textiles in her 30s. 

Notkin is a perfectionist who ensures that her dishes are always beautiful and delicious while keeping them simple. With two successful stages under her belt at the prestigious Chez Panisse in California, Notkin is poised to prove she has what it takes to hold her own in the Top Chef Canada kitchen.

We recently caught up with the Montreal native, who filled us in on her favourite places for food in drink in her hometown.  


I don’t eat breakfast, but I love September Surf Cafe in Little Burgundy or Lawrence for brunch on the weekends.


For either lunch or dinner, I love Boucherie-Bar à Vin Provisions, which has some incredible sandwiches in their butcher shop, but also makes the absolute best ribeye I have ever eaten in my life. The fries are something of a spiritual experience. No joke!


For sure Vin Mon Lapin, owned by husband and wife duo Marco Frappier and Vanya Filipovich. It’s a constant surprise of dream-like flavours and Vanya has always chosen unique wines that you would not otherwise seek out. It’s cozy and always so much fun--I wish I lived closer (but my accountant doesn’t).


I’m a strict gin and tonic kind of gal (tonic on the side please). However, I do love the Atwater Cocktail Club which is down an alley and always somehow just a fun night out. Bring all your first dates here.