The Grocery Store | One last grocery store for Denis Gagné

For 20 years he was “Mister Grocery” for everyone who spoke to him when they recognized him in the supermarket and sought advice. But Denis Gagné is about to turn the page The grocery storea show that has become a reference when it comes to food and that he has co-hosted since its debut.

Posted at 7:00 am

Laila Maalouf

Laila Maalouf
The press

Between two states of mind, we find him at home, in his more than hundred-year-old house on the Mont-Royal plateau, where he shows us all the details that make up the charm of the house. Fruits of his “artisan side”. For a week he has been oscillating in a floating zone where the reality of this leap into the void he is offering has not yet fully asserted itself.

I’m usually on vacation around this time 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 pulled the ax himself when he announced his decision to leave the show at the end of the season last winter. “The longing for the dizziness of the blank page” had taken over. “It’s the first time I’ve decided to leave. Otherwise I was always fired or the show flushed,” he says laconically.

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

At 64, Denis Gagné wanted to write a new chapter, away from the hustle and bustle of a weekly show that produces 50 episodes a year and that he has hosted since 2007, first with Marie-Josée Taillefer and then with Johanne Despins.


Denis Gagne and Johane Despins

The grocery store, it’s a third of my life. Half of my working life. I loved doing the show; it was great.

Denis Gagne

Then there were those mornings with the pandemic where he would wake up feeling like “it was a job.” The country’s reputation has grown with this home, built 11 years ago in Bromont on the land of an old family farm where the Sherbrooke animator co-founded an agricultural cooperative, Oak Hill Farm.

“You’re kind of on the edge of an abyss. That doesn’t mean you will jump; it just means taking back control. who am i now And who am I for the next 10 years? »

Food processing witness

While he remains modest in his feelings, we understand that the decision was not easy for him. “It’s a lot…because it’s hard to leave people you love, people with great talent,” he says thoughtfully.

In two decades he has been a privileged witness to the transformation of food and agriculture in Quebec. “So much has changed. We’ve transitioned from instant coffee to third wave espresso. From industrial cheese to farmer’s cheese. Cheese, cider, wine, beer… we are now completely relaxed with all the local products. »


Denis Gagne

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

Denis Gagne

He’s also excited about the culinary mix that’s proliferated in supermarkets, where you can now find everything from curries to kimchi.

But how often has he wanted to intervene in news affecting the agricultural world, held back by the duty of restraint that his status as a journalist imposes on him? Without getting involved in politics, as some have suggested to him on several occasions – “because I don’t want to work anymore, I want to work less! he exclaims, laughing — he doesn’t rule out the idea of ​​speaking his mind “from time to time,” now that he can.

Other projects, he has his head full of them. Starting with the renovation of the barn on the farm. Then there is this screen printing course that we offered him. And why not another one to learn Spanish? Who knows, he might even pull out his old guitar.

“All the things you don’t do ‘because of the job’…sometimes it’s just an excuse. We’ll see if the guitar comes out of its case that.”

One thing is for sure, he will always enjoy visiting the public markets, here or when travelling.

Until then, he wishes us “good shopping” one last time.

The last broadcast of The grocery store with Denis Gagné airs Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on Radio-Canada and pays special tribute to the host by celebrating the 20the Anniversary of the show with features from longtime fans.

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