I’m a born and bred Montrealer. I love this town. I come from an era where Mile End was mostly inhabited by Hasidics and immigrants (including my family). I remember when Boulevard St-Laurent was populated with mom-and-pop shops, when the Champlain bridge had tollbooths, when there was no blue metro line, when Île-Ste-Hélène had an aquarium, when Westmount had a movie theater. Montreal’s come a long way since then – some good, some bad. Thankfully, some things never change… St-Viateur Bagel is still the same, albeit with a few more flavoured cream cheeses in their fridge.

Montreal is my favourite. It is constantly re-inventing itself: welcoming new people, saying goodbye to others, eternally broke and falling apart, yet always a wellspring of thriving artistic and cultural expression.  I love it when people come here and fall in love with its beauty and disparities. Chantelle Grady is a talented stylist and graphic designer who recent relocated to Montreal from Brisbane; she is also the author of A Little Relish, a charming online mag that allows her to combine her skills and express her love of all things food (and allows me to continue to culture my obsession for all things food – thank-you, Chantelle).

A Little Relish - Montreal

Last night I was working late and Chantelle tweeted that her new issue was out. I had been looking forward to it, because this issue is all about Montreal – and I was not disappointed. From her favourite café roundups to the markets to a few quintessential Montreal must-eats, her photography and design capture this amazing city wonderfully. There are recipes I can’t wait to try (hello, roasted tomato soup!), and I wasn’t surprised in the least to see my dear friend Marie-Ève featured beautifully and representin’!

A Little Relish - Montreal

A Little Relish - Montreal

One thing I’ve noticed about Montreal tributes and guides is that some hoods like NDG tends to fall to the wayside a little too often… Perhaps I’ll have to put my own rudimentary tribute together one day.

All in all, a beautiful tribute to your new hometown, Chantelle! I can really appreciate how much work you put into A Little Relish – it’s beautiful, and a treat to read. Looking forward to the next issue… with relish.

I’ll admit it, I’m a real sucker for the impeccably styled photography that saturates my favourite magazines and, in particular, my favourite blogs for the last several years. Absolutely gorgeous food, china, flowers, fields, furniture… perfectly vignetted, devoid of life’s imperfections. These impossibly flawless scenarios are enough to give a girl an insecurity complex. Still, I eat it up and want more – I have such admiration for stylists and photographers who create such beautiful work together.

And yet, this photo series struck a real chord – Rachel Bee Porter‘s The Joy of Cooking series flings perfection right out the window and onto the floor. If only my own butterfinger moments looked so beautiful. Perhaps, in some way, they do!

Rachel Bee Porter's The Joy of Cooking

All photos: Rachel Bee Porter

Rachel says: “Having grown up reading a multitude of home and lifestyle magazines, my work confronts the expectations that developed from buying into the carefully constructed photographic fantasies of the pristine and perfect domestic life. By appropriating the lush, brightly colored imagery of magazines and perverting it, I explore the aftermath of unfulfilled expectations that were bolstered through tips, tricks, how-tos, and eye-catching photographs.

This disillusionment manifests itself in a playful, yet irreverent defiance. I subvert the delicately crafted trompe l’oeils found in commercial and editorial photography by corrupting domestic strategies. I utilize the skills I learned to bake elaborate desserts, which I then destroy and photograph the aftermath. Through the intermingling of creation and destruction, I explore the reality beyond the glossy varnish.”

Rachel Bee Porter's The Joy of Cooking

Rachel Bee Porter's The Joy of Cooking

Simply beautiful – and a reminder to see the elegance in everything. To see more of Rachel’s striking work, visit her website!