Winter Recipe: “Sugarless” Sugar Pie by Chartwell FSM Michel Charbonneau

From gingerbread to Christmas cookies to seasonal pies, winter is defined by its delicious desserts and chocolaty beverages! To help you enjoy all that the season has to offer, we’re serving up Chartwell Cité-Jardin FSM Michel Charbonneau’s famous “Sugarless” Sugar Pie recipe, a favourite among his residents and a staple in the province of Quebec.

Read on for Michel’s sweet and creamy pie recipe, which is also suitable for people managing diabetes!

Michel Charbonneau, Food Service Manager, at Chartwell Cité-Jardin since 2003

As a teenager, Michel was happy to help out his mother on the weekend by serving at banquets at their family-owned restaurant. By the time he was 13, Michel found himself taking pleasure in preparing simple meals at night for both himself and his father while his mother was working evenings. He loved to find creative ways to use up what was leftover in the fridge. As a result, his love for the culinary world gradually developed, and cooking would become his lifelong passion.

After high school, Michel enrolled in a professional cooking certificate program. Following his graduation, he found a job in a seniors’ long term care home in Gatineau. He’d go on to work there for 19 years. Following that period of time, during a six-year hiatus where he managed his parents’ restaurant, he realized he missed seniors being a part of his daily life. That’s why 13 years ago he started working at Chartwell Cité-Jardin.

One of Michel’s proudest moments after he started working his culinary magic in Cité-Jardin’s kitchen was when he successfully re-vamped their traditional menu, adding many unique homemade dishes and desserts. Residents responded with a resounding, “Thank you!” Michel is very touched by the fact that his creativity and adaptability can make residents feel so happy. “I’m always eager to put a smile on their faces. It’s worth having gone the extra mile when that happens,” says Michel. He’s also happy to go above and beyond to adapt recipes to resident’s dietary needs. Such is the case when he makes his famous “Sugarless” Sugar Pie, which is suitable for residents managing diabetes.

Michel explains that the holidays are a joyous occasion for him and his food service team. They are always excited to team up and create a traditional savoury menu for residents’ Christmas celebrations. Interested in finding out firsthand from residents what they enjoy most about their dining-room experience, he holds a monthly meeting for their opinions. “It’s for them that my team and I cook. It’s important for us to have their feedback,” he explains.

When Michel’s not in Chartwell Cité-Jardin’s kitchen, he can be found helping out residents by carrying out small acts of kindness for them. Once, he was happy to help a resident find a cake at the last minute for her son’s birthday party.  Michel also didn’t hesitate to lend a helping hand to a resident by picking up items for him on his own free time. To many at the retirement community, Michel’s attention to detail and caring nature are the icing on the cake of their dining experience at Chartwell Cité-Jardin.

Michel’s Winter Recipe: “Sugarless” Sugar Pie


-227 gms of Splenda brown sugar
-1/4 cup of flour
-1 egg
-1 box of evaporated milk
-1 9-inch pie shell


Combine brown sugar with flour and whisk together. Add egg to mixture, stirring well. Next, add evaporated milk, also mixing well.

Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie shells. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.