In honour of Montreal’s Restaurant Day, 10-year-old Anna Guindon-Semblat decided to sell cookies and madeleines on the sidewalk in front of her Plateau-Mont-Royal home.
She’s been baking since she was a toddler and wanted to sell her baked goods on Restaurant Day in an effort to raise money to fly her friend over from France.
“With my money, I want her to come in a plane,” she told Global News.
The event, held four times a year, allows people all over the city to show off their culinary talents, turning living rooms, backyards and back alleys into makeshift restaurants. Amateur chefs then invite the public to sample their creations.
In Westmount, an apartment complex’s pool area became a paella party, while a couple from France sold cookies and other sweets in Laurier Park, explaining that they hope to open their own bakery some day.
Selling food without a permit is illegal in the city, however according to Restaurant Day organizers, usually participants are left alone.
“We would like for those four days a year that everyone can shut their eyes,” said Restaurant Day volunteer Gaelle Janvier.
For the past three years at Jeanne-Mance Park, a group of martial arts students has been selling food they cooked to raise money for their school. They wanted to do the same on Saturday.
“Usually, each year, we make $1,500 just from this one event,” said Mathieu Goyer, one of the students.
But as they were setting up, city inspectors arrived and told them that without a permit they would have to leave.
For a few moments, it appeared the inspectors had changed their minds but then the police arrived.
“We’re very disappointed. It was a lot of work, a lot of effort, a lot of money,” said Anais Blanc, another martial arts student.
The group had prepared 60 servings of vegetarian chili, dozens of Indian pakoras, jerk chicken and much more that they were not allowed to sell.
The French couple selling cookies at Laurier Park later told Global News they, too, were kicked out by Plateau-Mont-Royal officials.
“It’s an example of how sometimes having flexibility is really important, especially if you want to create a nice neighbourhood dynamic,” said Janvier.
Regarding the shutdown of Restaurant Day vendors, the city said it’s necessary to have a permit to sell food in public but did not explain why people have been allowed to do it at some times but not others.
The borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal could not be reached for comment.