The grocery store | One last grocery store for Denis Gagné

For 20 years he was “Mister Grocery” to all those who came to him when they recognized him in the supermarket, seeking advice. But Denis Gagné is about to turn the page The grocery storea program that has become a reference in gastronomy and that it co-presents since its debut.

Posted at 7:00 am

Laila Ma'aluf

Laila Ma’aluf
Press

It is between two states of mind that we find him at home, in his hundred-year-old house on the Plateau Mont-Royal, where he shows us all those details that make the house charming. fruits of his “handyman side”. For a week he has been oscillating in a floating zone, where the reality of this leap into the void that he himself has offered has not yet fully established itself.

Normally, right now, I’m on vacation until August. So I try to get closer to that vacation state and just relax.

Denis Gagne

For the first time in his 38-year television career, Denis Gagné himself pulled the ax when he announced his decision to leave the show at the end of the season last winter. “The longing for the vertigo of the blank page” he had taken over. “It is the first time that I am the one who decides that I am going. If not, I would always get fired or the show would blush,” he says laconically.

Gone are the weeks of galloping work, filming, meetings, surveys, tastings and test benches. But he never thought of the word “retirement”. “It’s more of a retreat, let’s say. In the short term, I’ll take it easy. I don’t want to go back so intensely now. »

At 64 years old, Denis Gagné wanted to write a new chapter, away from the frenetic pace of a weekly program that produces 50 episodes a year and that he co-hosts first with Marie-Josée Taillefer and then with Johanne Despins since 2007.

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY RADIO-CANADA

Denis Gagne and Johanne Despins

The grocery storeIt is a third of my life. Half of my professional life. I loved doing the show; it was great.

Denis Gagne

Then there were those mornings, with the pandemic, where I woke up with the feeling that “it was a job”. The call of the country has also grown, with this house built in Bromont, 11 years ago, on the land of an old family farm where the entertainer from Sherbrooke co-founded an agricultural cooperative, Oak Hill Farm.

“You are on the edge of a precipice, in a way. That doesn’t mean you’re going to jump; it just means taking back control. Who am I now? And who am I, for the next 10 years? »

Food Processing Witness

Even if you remain modest about your feelings, we understand that the decision was not easy to make. “It’s a lot…because it’s hard to leave people you love, really talented people,” he just says thoughtfully.

In two decades, it has been a privileged witness to the transformation of food and agriculture in Quebec. “It has changed so much. We went from soluble coffee to third wave espresso. From industrial cheese to country cheese. Cheese, cider, wine, beer… now we are completely relaxed with all the local products. »

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PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, PRESS ARCHIVE

Denis Gagne

Twenty years ago, we didn’t really care what was in the product. Practicality and price prevailed. We have become vigilant and educated about the content of food and that makes life more difficult for manufacturers, who can no longer do anything.

Denis Gagne

He’s also delighted to see the culinary mix that has spread to supermarkets where you can now find everything from curries to kimchi.

But how many times did you want to intervene in news that affects the agricultural world, held back by the duty of confidentiality imposed by your status as a journalist? Without playing politics, as some have suggested more than once – “because I don’t want to work more, I want to work less! he exclaims between laughs – he doesn’t rule out the idea of ​​giving his opinion “from time to time”, now that he can.

Otherwise, projects, he has a head full of them. Starting with the renovation of the barn on the estate. Then there is this screen printing course that we offered you. And why not another to learn Spanish? Who knows, maybe I’ll even get the old guitar out of him.

« Toutes les choses que tu ne fais pas “à cause de la job” »… parfois, c’est juste pretexte. On verra bien if the guitare is going to ressort from son étui. J’ai hâte de voir où ça va me mener , all that. ”

One thing is for sure, you will always have a lot of fun visiting the public markets, here or when you are travelling.

Until then, he wishes us a “good grocery store” for the last time.

The last broadcast of The grocery store with Denis Gagné will air Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on Radio-Canada, and will pay a special tribute to the host while highlighting the 20me anniversary of the show with features of longtime fans.

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