Known as the ambassador of “Quebec’s regional fine cuisine’’, Anne Desjardins has always been fascinated by nature, exotic countries and locales. Growing up in Montreal, in a family that traveled extensively, she pored over National Geographic the way the other young girls devoured Nancy Drew. After training as a geographer and failing to find a job upon graduation in 1979, Desjardins and partner Pierre Audette, bought a charming cottage in Ste. Adèle (an hour outside of Montreal) and turned it into a small restaurant called “L’eau à la Bouche”, at a time when “fresh broccoli was a radical concept!” Too broke to hire a chef, Anne took on the job herself, and what the couple lacked in experience, they made up for in enthusiasm. With her geographer’s sensibilities, she couldn’t bear to import asparagus in February instead of serving their own Laurentian squash, cabbage, and mushrooms; their notions of freshness and purity, of healthfulness and simplicity became their governing philosophy. As word spread about L’Eau à la Bouche (“Mouthwatering”), Anne and Pierre continued to aim higher and higher. In 1987, hey expanded into a cozy country inn with 25 rooms. In 1989, they were accepted as a member of the world renowned Relais and Chateaux chain. Among numerous accolades, Anne has been named the Best Chef in Canada by the New York Times, honoured as one of America’s Top Tablesby Gourmet, and in 2002 was named Knight of “l’Ordre National du Québec” by the Prime Minister. She has been on numerous television and radio programs and has been invited as guest chef at gastronomic events from Paris to Albi, Toronto to Tokyo, New-York to Singapore. In 1998, her son Emmanuel Desjardins Richard joined the kitchen brigade after completing his culinary degree. Born and raised in the kitchens of L’eau à la Bouche, he now works as Anne’s sous-chef, continuing her pioneering efforts. Anne, Pierre and Emmanuel’s passion for food, pride in their regional produce, and belief in offering the ultimate dining experience, will ensure that L’eau a la Bouche remains at the forefront of Québec’s fine cuisine for years to come.