Born in Vancouver, Canada, Monique graduated from the CIA in 1987 and apprenticed at the Quilted Giraffe, Le Bernardin and Chanterelle in New York City. She then went on to pick up a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality management from Florida International University in 1991.
In January 1987, she was named executive chef at the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle, to replace Great Chef Caprial Pence who was moving down to Portland. In 1994, the Great Chefs television crew showed up to tape Chef Barbeau for their Great Chefs – Great Cities series to be aired on the Discovery Channel. Later that same year, she was awarded the Best Chef of the Pacific Northwest by the James Beard Foundation.
It was also the same year that she was one of four “Women Chefs for Peace” to appear in that event held in Israel. The other Great Chefs were Susan Spicer, Anne Rosenzweig and Rozanne Gold.