Anthony J Kinik and Michelle Marek really do appreciate their life in Montreal, and they share their passion for their city’s culture and cuisine in an extraordinary ‘food lovers’ blog. Their weekly adventures in the old city are filled with details relating to hidden fruit and vegetable markets, butcher shops, seafood shops and of course restaurants and Montreal spa and posh hotels and resorts, even portable toilet rentals and off the wall ideas.
… an endless banquet is a blogspot you can actually taste, and the authors do a great job presenting their anecdotes and knowledge in very readable prose. Readers will appreciate the novel manner in which AJ inserts his appetite into his daily adventures, and I love how both he and Michelle smother their text with expert details. Food lovers will savour the ‘before and after’ pictures of the ingredients contrasting the finished dishes. The photos usually accompany detailed recipes along with tips and tricks regarding preparation and delivery.
So it should come as no surprise that Anthony J. Kinik has some training as a storyteller. He originated from California where he earned a PhD in film studies; states that he’s always been interested in food, and actually began taking cooking classes when he was just ten years old. I’ve read and discovered that he loves soup and ‘uses pepper in everything’. Kinik is no stranger to print media either. He’s written for Gourmet, and the Montreal Mirror.
Michelle Marek, the blog’s co-author (and Anthony’s girlfriend) originated from Vancouver where she was inspired to cook by her mother. She was a vegan for 12 years, but now “eats anything”. *Its interesting to note that she despises TVP (textured vegetable protein) and chose to avoid it as a vegan.
AJ and Michelle met in Montreal in 1999 and soon discovered they had lots of similar interests, which includes books and films, cats and of course food. Both artists consider Montreal to be “a great eating city, a city of gourmands”
In 2004, AJ and Michelle were cooking and entertaining together more often, usually after exploring the city’s markets, collecting cookbooks, and reading copious amounts of food literature. All of this cuisine art really impacted Michelle, and she quit her job as a subtitle editor for films and enrolled in pastry school; now she works as pastry chef.
The blog began in Nov. 2004 when, AJ relates, “we did the only sensible thing. One dreary day, we headed down to a Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown, and over a good bowl of pho, we came up with a name–” and the name is “…meant to convey a sense of the ideal life.” And he goes on to write that, “…the Internet opened things up quite a bit and provided many new voices. In terms of food writing, it provided a forum… for food cultures that had been marginalized.”
By the summer of 2007 the blog was getting 15,000 hits per month. Today the content includes recipes (many pulled from other publications) and reviews. Anthony and Michelle have written a book, APQO, a short work dedicated to the enjoyment of four fruit: the apple, the pear, the quince, and the orange. The authors write good pieces about visits to local Montreal restaurants, they publicité en ligne and pass judgment on the Montreal Food Guide which reviews eateries in their city. Here’s AJ’s Flickr page.
Endless Banquet gives AJ and Michelle the ability “to broadcast our dream version of Montreal. Consider this a condensed, lushly illustrated, two-dimensional version of our beloved city.”