Chef Francis Hergott arrived in Moncton, New Brunswick, from Paris, France, in September 2002, to train the personal chef of the French Consulate General. After previously spending five months in Quebec during his own Chef’s training, he was already in love with Canada. What he hadn’t planned on was making Canada his home, but as life would have it, he fell in love with a Canadian girl!
Francis grew up in Paris. From an early age he enjoyed being in the kitchen with his grandmothers. He admits, that at first, it wasn’t so much about the food – it was about the closeness and love he shared with them. As he grew older, he realized it felt great to help, and every time there was a family reunion he was in the kitchen spending quality time, while he helped his grandmothers prepare traditional dishes.
When it came time to choose a career in high school, he decided to go to Professional School and study Hotel Management. He later specialized in the ‘art of the table’, learning all about the restaurant business including cooking and serving. As a student chef it was necessary to continue training in another country, so Francis came to Chateau Montebello in Quebec for five months. When he returned to France, it was compulsory to join the Military, which he did. He then continued his studies working in the heart of Paris, and later moving to London, and then back to France. It was at this time that the French Consulate, who was a cousin of his mother, invited him to come to Moncton to train his personal chef. When Francis arrived in Moncton he was impressed with the small city way of life, and in particular with the people of the city.
When his work was completed for the French Consulate, he found a job at a French bakery and helped to establish it as a restaurant. Before the year was up, he created his own catering company with a partner, where they specialized in fine wines and French cooking, organizing many events in Charlottetown, Caraquet, and Edmundston, with guests numbering between 500 and 2000.
During his various jobs, he contemplated moving back to France, and was actually preparing to return when one day he walked into a (beauty) salon which was close to his residence; his wife Carole likes to say, “He met the girl next door, we fell in love, and the rest is history!”
Francis was even more impressed with New Brunswick when Carole, who grew up in Saint-Louis-de-Kent, brought him home to meet her family. “Right away I loved the space in Kent County”, Francis states, “and being so close to Moncton, it was a pleasure to have a mixture of city and county in such a close proximity. I love living close to nature, and the changing of the seasons, which you don’t notice so much in a city such as Paris. And what makes Moncton beautiful is its people. I am very proud of the fact that both French and English can live together so well. When I found out that Carole’s grandmother’s name was also ‘Lillian’ – I knew we were meant to be. Both of my grandmother’s share the same name, so that made three very important ‘Lillian’s’ in my life. So I fell in love with my wife, the people, and the country.”
When Francis and Carole decided to start a family, Francis saw the need to have a more comfortable lifestyle with a steady salary, and went to work as Executive Chef for ‘Auberge Gabrielle’, in Shediac. When the owner purchased ‘Catch 22’ in Moncton, Francis became Executive Chef at the new location.
Since ‘Catch 22’ is a favorite location of Peter Porter (of Peter Porter Orchette), Peter knew Chef Francis well. And since Peter Porter Orchette was coming to Rexton to entertain at the Harvest Gala Dinner & Dance, Peter knew that Norma Raine and Noreen Langdon, (organizers of the Harvest Gala Dinner & Dance), were looking for a Chef to prepare the menu and meal for this year’s event. Peter referred Norma and Noreen to Chef Francis. They met, and needless to say, were very impressed.
Chef Francis Hergott will make his Kent County debut at the ‘3rd Annual Harvest Gala Dinner & Dance’, held at the Rexton Curling Club on Saturday, October 11th. Doors for the Gala will open at 6 p.m. for cocktail hour with pre-dinner music by pianist, Mark Thibeault. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. Once again guests will dance until midnight to the sounds of ‘Peter Porter Orchette’. Family as well as corporate tables, for 10, can be reserved. The Harvest Gala is a major fundraiser for the Restoration Project of St. Andrew’s United Church in Rexton.
As for Chef Francis, he has a special meal planned for his debut in Kent County. He will start the four-course meal with Tomato Basil Soup served with Crostini, followed by Green Salad, Roasted Squash and Filo Pastry served with Raspberry Dressing, a main course of Beef Bourguignon served with Seasoned Vegetables, & Potato Duchesse, and a dessert of Apple Tart with Caramel Sauce.
At the end of October, Chef Francis, his wife Carole, and their son Liam, will open the restaurant at the Richibucto River Resort. Chef Francis and Carole, have many interesting plans and ideas for this new restaurant in Kent County and look forward to serving the area.
For information and tickets for the ‘Harvest Gala Dinner and Dance’ on October 11th, contact Norma Raine at 523-0995, or Noreen Langdon at 523-1060.
By Darlene Lawson