The hidden face of Madame Labriski series
Episode 01: What about family?

I decided to write this series to liberate myself from certain aspects of my life that were roaring inside my head, in other words all of them. Hahaha! It’s better to laugh than cry! Everything seems to be happening at once and I have a tendency of moving all my projects forward at the same time. I could talk about one subject at a time, but I felt like sharing everything with you as it comes to me. Like fireworks! Are you ready for this?

Social networks are showcases that are fascinating but worrisome. Life can’t revolve around social media. But I really appreciate your enormous interest in this series – and for letting me know which subjects you’d like me to talk about. But who’s actually behind Madame Labriski? Who is this woman-mother-runner and visionary businesswoman who sweetens everything with date puree? How does she manage to do it all?

People often tell me that I’m inspiring. I’m moved by these words. These words, your words, give me energy. But behind this notion of “inspiring Madame” lies a path that was paved by the impetus of a vision, determination and many compromises.

My family life.

My kids know that mommy works really hard. Did you know? They certainly do. But they also know that I love what I do. I’m constantly telling them that in life, it’s important to choose a job you enjoy. Whatever it may be.

I have two children and when they each came into the world, it’s as though I gave birth to a new facet of myself (the same thing happens when I prepare for a marathon. There’s a five-year age difference between my two children: 59 months to be precise.

When my daughter was born, I also gave birth to this intense desire to fulfil my potential professionally. At the time, I was in advertising. I liked my job, but I felt that I could push myself further. During my maternity leave (a short-term one), I laid the cornerstone and foundations of the world of Madame Labriski: I decided I was going to work with date puree to create snacks that were both tasty and healthy. When Antoinette was one and a half, I ran the marathon that changed my life and the way I believed in myself and my possibilities (Chicago 2012). One month later, I’d stopped waiting for something extraordinary to happen and posted my first recipe online. BAM! I had this clear-cut vision: one day I was going to change the world with my innovative way of preparing pleasure food.

The birth of Adrien (my baby) coincided with the release of my first cookbook, which has sold over 135,000 copies in Quebec (you know that a bestseller is only 5,000 copies, right?). I’m not saying that to show off. I created Madame Labriski to meet my own needs as someone who likes to indulge in treats and, obviously, it seems that I put my finger on a need in our society.

When my cookbook Ces galettes dont tout le monde parle was released in 2016, Adrien was nine months old. In May of the same year, I remember going to see my mother for Mother’s Day and crying, crying with exhaustion. I was still breast-feeding and creating my cookbook (just following my instincts without having been told how to go about it) and, because I was also the co-founder of a start-up advertising agency (21 grammes – Agence d’idéation), I’d gone back to work while simultaneously tackling all these challenges. The spring of 2016 was momentous. In 2016, I realized that my life was in tune with my deepest desires and was testing me. (I could talk about our inner strengths in another article).

I often jokingly say that I’m the people’s choice… because that’s just how it is with Madame Labriski. I’m not a media celebrity. I’m a woman working hard to make a difference. My energy inspires me to always push myself one step further because I love what I do. Ok, I admit I’m trying to build an energizing empire that has no added refined sugar and is bursting with wholesomeness. The businesswoman I’ve now become and the one I will turn into over the next few years (and has always been lying dormant within me) can confidently say: I’m building an empire. But how will it be perceived by others?

Unfortunately, being successful is frowned upon in Quebec (especially if you’re a woman). It ruffles feathers. Can you believe that!?

Did you know that anyone can succeed? Did you know that we all have the potential to one day decide to make a difference or to earn a living pursuing our passion? You just have to make up your mind and take concrete action to make this vision materialize so it turns into a decision. Unfortunately, many adults make do with mediocrity or “Oh well! It’ll be fine.”  The average adult is a master of self-sabotage. It’s such a shame. I’m not saying we shouldn’t appreciate what we have. Being thankful on a daily basis is an attitude we must cultivate, but I sincerely believe that we all have the power to turn our lives into our greatest dream and build whatever we feel like. This power is within everyone’s reach.

I personally made the unconscious decision to do so at the age of 33 and a conscious one at 35, just after the marathon that changed my life in 2012. Running a marathon in 3:08 and being the first Quebecer to cross the finishing line in Chicago (over 40,000 participants) when your target was 3:15 is an incredible way of getting your fix of endorphins. What? The girl from St-Agapit de Lotbinière, the pseudo-athlete and mother who works like mad managed to do that? I beg your pardon? That’s when I realized that nothing can stop me in life. It all depends on me.

My hubby (and father of my children) doesn’t have that inherent need to push back his limits, but he strongly believes in… my madness. He became part of my life at the same time as running. Running allows me to channel my energy. Running keeps me rooted. My hubby accepted me how I was and has never asked me to change. He’s not like me.  We’re very different. He’s not an athlete or a businessman. We’re complementary. He has a brilliant career (and I’m certain he’ll be the CEO of the company where he works within the next seven years), but he never works evenings or weekends. He has a stable schedule, a very stable schedule.

The very opposite of me.

The Madame.

Since the day I had my vision, I’ve had this inner driving force that feels like it’s from another world. In fact, in my inspiring conferences, I jokingly say that I was kidnapped by E.T. That’s my metaphorical way of explaining what drives me. My vision gives me energy.

I never had the time to create the world of Madame Labriski. I found the time.

For the past five years now, I get up most mornings between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. I usually work from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. when everyone’s asleep. For me, those hours are magical. After that, I start my typical day. I’m back home for dinner and ¾ of the time, I’m the one who prepares the meals. I give the kids their baths and it’s me who reads the bedtime story… 4/3 of the time. My hubby does the washing and general housekeeping. I run a business, but I don’t want my children to one day say that mommy was never home.

I’m not always at home, but I take my role as a mother very seriously. Otherwise, I would have been better off not having kids. But I feel it’s super important that my children have a mother who’s accomplished and feels fulfilled. It’s important to show them that you can achieve anything you want in life, whether you’re a man or a woman.


How do I manage to train and run 65 to 110 km a week? For me, having a healthy mind in a healthy body is crucial. In fact, I think it also allows me to feel as though I’m not growing older.  There are times when balancing everything is really hard. I get cranky and my hubby tells me to go for a run. My training sessions are scheduled and I consider them as dates I’ve made with myself. Sometimes I go running at 5 a.m., at noon, at 4:30 p.m. before dinner and, like this summer, I go at 6:30 p.m. once a week, after I negotiated being allowed to go to the running club. But when I get home, it’s crazy. The kids eagerly await their mommy.

In theory, I’m registered for the only marathon scheduled to take place in Quebec in 2021. I signed up in February when I was facing huge challenges with the commercial food product side of my business. I recently decided to forge ahead with a project that hadn’t been planned this summer, which has completely disrupted my agenda. With the release of my second cookbook in English Canada, the restructuring of my company (or perhaps I should say structuring – hahaha!), the arrival of my products at new supermarket chains (Sobeys, Metro, Provigo, Axep, etc.) and the increased running sessions in order to be ready for the marathon, I’m simply unable to add weight training without wreaking havoc on my schedule.

At the time of writing this, I’ve run 110 km this week. That’s the maximum for me. For the time being, I’m coping. But is it superfluous in relation to my priorities? A little voice in my head tells me it is. I’m torn apart because running makes me feel good. It allows me to think about other things while staying focused. But the fact remains that it eats into my sleep time and my time in general. My children know that mommy gets up early pretty much every day. On weekends, nobody is surprised when mommy gets back when everybody else is up.

You’ll probably tell me that the marathon is one thing too many on my agenda. Reading what I’ve written, I know it is too. But preparing for it is so rewarding, so exhilarating and it makes me a better mother and a better businesswoman. And my kids? They understand how important it is to me to keep active and feel good about my body. Adrien like to show me his big, 5½-year-old muscles: “Look mommy, I’m strong too.” Hahaha!

I’ll be meeting up my trainer soon to talk about it. Do I continue? Do I reduce the amount of running and run simply for the pleasure of running? Oh dear…

I always say that in business, as in life, “unclear objectives yield unclear results.” That statement is so true. Those words are so powerful. And OK, I’ll tell it like it is, running gives me beautiful legs. Hahaha!

The trainer in question is aware of my lifestyle and the Marathon-like battle I’m fighting in order to make a difference in society. Let’s just say I’m juggling several different projects at the moment.

Can someone be too passionate?

Can someone be too motivated in everything they do?

Can someone choose to not want to unconsciously test their limits?

Strange questions… but ones that define me.

But I love what I do, that’s a fact. And I also know there’s a myriad of projects to get off the ground. That’s what the Madame Labriski flame is all about.


To be continued…



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