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Chef Jean-Luc Boulay

Jean-Luc Boulay

Originally from France, Jean-Luc Boulay emigrated to Canada in 1976 to settle there permanently. Master Chef of France and Officer of the Order of Agricultural Merit of France, he is renowned for his mastery of foie gras, having learned in particular from Joël Robuchon, and favors a generous and tasty cuisine based on fresh regional products from Quebec and Canada.

The popular permanent judge of the show Les Chefs! For 10 seasons broadcast on Radio-Canada has become a key figure in the Quebec gastronomic landscape, recognized for his humble and rigorous approach to have inspired several generations of chefs in Canada, and for having participated in the quiet revolution of Quebec cuisine.

Jean-Luc Boulay has used his solid French training to create a modern distinctive gastronomy with accents of the Quebec and Canadian terroir. He is known for having revived the use of products from the boreal forest that have fallen into oblivion and to have combined French know-how with these local flavors.



Born in 1955 in Marolles-les-Braults, a small town near Le Mans in Sarthe (in the Pays de la Loire region), Jean-Luc Boulay comes from a family of 11 children, the son of a mason and a farmer-gardener-florist. He got hooked on what would become his profession around the age of 13 with his mother.

He began his apprenticeship at the age of 15 at the restaurant Le Dauphin in Saint-Pierre-des-Nids, and obtained his certificate of professional aptitude in the kitchen in 1973. He then went on to work in Paris at the restaurant Le Coeur Volant for three years, after completing his compulsory military service (in Saumur as a cook in the officers' mess.

He eventually worked at Orly for an airline, before leaving for Canada during the 1976 Montreal Olympics, to stay there permanently, having been hired as the chef at the restaurant Le Boeuf Charolais, at the Loews Concorde hotel in Quebec City.

Two years later, in 1978, he opened his first restaurant, Le Saint-Amour, located on rue Sainte-Ursule in Old Quebec City, with his partner Jacques Fortier, who over the years would become a true gastronomic institution and one of the great gastronomic tables in the province, having contributed the most to forging the gastronomic identity of Quebec, honored on several occasions, and in particular recognized as one of the best gastronomic restaurants in Quebec and in Canada. Le Saint-Amour is notably known as Paul McCartney's favorite restaurant in town, for whom Jean-Luc Boulay concocted an entirely vegetarian meal featuring Quebec products.

In April 2012, Jean-Luc Boulay opened a Nordic-inspired restaurant, Chez Boulay - Bistro boréal , with chef Arnaud Marchand, located on rue Saint-Jean in Quebec City. He is the ambassador in Quebec of this local cuisine which finds its roots in Nordic products. Indeed, Jean-Luc Boulay is a seasoned hunter and fisherman.

In April 2019, he opened Les Botanistes restaurant, in the Floralies Jouvence garden center in Quebec City, a table that gives pride of place to vegetables in the dishes, with his partners Arnaud Marchand and Jacques Fortier.

Throughout his career as a chef, Jean-Luc Boulay has taken part in over fifty advanced training courses in Europe, carried out among others at the Le Nôtre gastronomic school and at the Bellouet Conseil school in Paris. He had the privilege of representing Quebec culinary art in Belgium, Japan, Malaysia, Italy, Whistler, Martinique as well as at the 2010 Winter Olympics, in Vancouver, and recently in France.

Jean-Luc Boulay is also passionate about training the next generations, giving various seminars in sous-vide cooking, cold meats, and foie gras, while supervising the rigorous training of apprentices and professionals who wish to participate in various competitions, in Quebec and abroad. Volunteering is part of his daily life and he supports many charitable causes, such as the Serge-Bruyère Foundation, the Red Cross, the organization of Young Musicians of the World, the Quebec Philanthrope Foundation, among many others.

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Jean-Luc Boulay is one of the three permanent judges along with Normand Laprise and Pasquale Vari on the TV show Les Chefs! broadcasted at Radio-Canada for 10 years (from 2010 to 2020). Hosted by Élyse Marquis and Daniel Vézina, the program Les Chefs, which has become embedded in Quebec's popular culture, features aspiring chefs who engage in a culinary competition.


In 2011, Jean-Luc Boulay published the book The Gourmet Universe by Jean-Luc Boulay, with 100 recipes for all occasions, each accompanied by a wine pairing. He has participated in the creation of many books on cooking in recent years, however, this is his first book in a personal capacity, written with the help of food journalist and author Anne-Louise Desjardins and photographer André-Olivier Lyra.

In 2014, he participated in the publication of the book The kitchen of my childhood, 100 recipes revisited by 10 great chefs who present the cuisine of their mothers. Jean-Luc brings out original recipes from deep France.

In 2017, he published the book Le garde-manger boréal with his partner, chef Arnaud Marchand, with 80 seasonal recipes from northern Quebec cuisine, revealing the secrets that make the success of their popular restaurant Chez Boulay bistro boréal. A book also produced with the help of author Anne-Louise Desjardins and photographer André-Olivier Lyra.

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Jean-Luc Boulay's career has been honoured by numerous prizes and distinctions which bear witness to his pursuit of excellence.

In 2003, he was named Chef of the Year by the Society of Chefs, Cooks and Pastry Shops of Quebec (SCCPQ).

In 2009, he received the Meritas Award, an honorary award that aims to pay tribute to a member of the Society of Chefs, Cooks and Pastry chefs of Quebec (SCCPQ) who has distinguished himself within his association while contributing to its progression and development. Dedication, friendliness, and positivity are important selection criteria for obtaining this recognition.

In 2010, he was awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre du Merit Agricole de France, a prestigious award that rewards French citizens living outside the country who have distinguished themselves in the field of French gastronomy. Created in 1883, the Ordre du Mérite Agricole is the oldest specialized order in France.

Also in 2010, he won the Governor General's Award for Tableware (by the Governor-General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean ), in the "Mentorship and inspiration" category, awarded to people who have become role models and which have inspired their peers and fellow citizens to see and appreciate tableware in a new light. Jean-Luc received this award for having been one of the first cooks to actively promote regional producers, in Canada and abroad, by using their ingredients, helping them to become known, and guiding them in the improvement of their production and profitability.


In 2012, he received the Renaud-Cyr prize, which aims to recognize the know-how of food professionals: chefs, cooks, pastry chefs, producers, processors who work to promote Quebec products and cuisine.

Also in 2012, he was inducted into Master Chef of France, one of the titles most envied by chefs around the world. The Association des Maîtres Cuisiniers de France is a worthy promoter of the French culinary arts and encourages professional excellence through numerous national and international cooking competitions.


In 2017, Jean-Luc Boulay was elevated to the rank of Officer of the Order of Agricultural Merit of France, for his contribution to the influence of French gastronomy in Quebec.

In 2019, at the 66th Gala of the Presidency of the Society of Chefs, Cooks and Patissiers of Quebec (SCCPQ), he received the Lumière Award, an award recognizing a person who sheds new and different light on the professions of the gastronomic world.



LENÔTRE School, Paris, France


2018 - Training on "Extraction, Concentration, Fixation" techniques with Bruno Goussault, scientific director of CREA, and Yannick Alléno chef de cuisine of Ledoyen

2014 - Sous-vide cooking training with Bruno Goussault Scientific Director of CREA

1997 - Plates for Buffets Prestige

1996 - Desserts on a plate

1995 - Meat and Poultry with Joël Robuchon

1994 - Bread and Viennese pastries for restaurants

1993 - New desserts and pastries

1992 - Fish on a plate

1990 - New cooking techniques

1989 - Appetizers on a plate with Joël Robuchon

1989 - Desserts for restaurants

1988 - Gibiers and gastronomy

1987 - Jean-Luc represents Quebec:

  • At the gastronomic week in Namur (Belgium)

  • At the Quebec Culinary Festival in Tokyo (Japan)

  • At the Singapore Festival - Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

  • Participates in various Inter sucre culinary fairs, SIAL Paris - Montreal - Toronto - Chicago - New York - Singapore - Tokyo



The gourmet universe of Jean-Luc Boulay

Few Quebec chefs have a career as rich and diverse as Jean-Luc Boulay, popular permanent judge of the show Les Chefs! and co-founder, with his friend Jacques Fortier, of this great house that is Le Saint-Amour, in Quebec City.

This book written with four hands with his friend, the gastronomic journalist and author Anne-Louise Desjardins, Jean-Luc Boulay wanted it to be a very personal sum of knowledge and a summary of all his passions: the years spent in the kitchen of Le Saint-Amour, of course, but also family life, Sunday evening dinners, hunting and fishing, his mastery of foie gras, the profession of Chef, not to mention the bond he has always maintained with the local artisans and his trainees.

On sale at the restaurant for $ 35.

Guest chefs at
Le Saint-Amour

  • Michel Husser, Michelin-starred chef, Master chef of France (Alsace, France)

  • Jean-Luc Rocha, Meilleur Ouvrier de France, two stars, came for two consecutive years (Bordeaux, France)

  • Régis Marcon, three stars Michelin  mushroom specialist (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France)

  • Jacques Le Divellec, seafood cuisine (Paris, France)

  • Jean Montagard, vegetarian cuisine (South of France)

  • Charles Jeandrain (Namur, Belgium)

  • Hélio Loureiro (Portugal)

Chefs invités
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La brigade


Chef since 2023

Sous-chef since 2020

Professional studies diploma in establishment cooking

Red Seal certified chef - a universally recognized and highly prestigious certification of apprenticeship in Canada 


Pastry chef since 2005

2019 Meritas Award of the Year from the Society of Chefs and Pastry Chefs of Quebec (SCCPQ)

Quebec Pastry Chef of the Year 2013 (National), nominated by the SCCPQ

Pastry Chef of the Year 2012 of the Quebec Chapter (SCCPQ)

Pastry Chef of the Year 2011 of the Quebec Chapter (SCCPQ)

Silver medal in the competition for apprentice cooks and pastry chefs in 2006 awarded by the society of chefs and pastry chefs of Quebec (SCCPQ)



Chef de partie since 1995

Red Seal certified chef - a universally recognized and highly prestigious certification of apprenticeship in Canada 

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