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Feenie out of Lumiere and Feenie's

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CLICK.

Wow.

Moderator's Note: This quote from the article linked above added by the host:

Rob Feenie, one of Canada's most celebrated chefs, says he has been forced out of his two Vancouver restaurants, Lumiere and Feenie's.

In the past few days, he says, he has been in the fight of his life in a failed bid to regain his status in the two Vancouver jewels.


Edited by TAPrice (log)

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Broken ties?????????

From reading this article and in between the lines, I'd say his ass got fired more than he broke ties with the place.

Well, I'm sure Chuck at White Spot will give him a job cooking that lovely chicken in a black bean sauce.

Always 3 sides to every story, your side, my side and the truth.

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Shocking.

My guess would be that they will lose the Relais Gourmand accreditation over this. Change of chef, that seems reason enough.

Still, this is hardly the end of Rob Feenie. But my heart goes out to the guy. Yet another sad story of a chef who can't manage the books.

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Sounds lilke this has the makings of a good "soap opera"...with Shellfish Sam's observation about the nature of truth likely being spot on.....

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And his ego.....

And you've experienced that first-hand when?

I only bring this up because the hatred shown to this man on this and other forums borders on the rediculous. Surely all these folk can't know Rob Feenie personally.

Ever sice he started pimping himself to White Spot, Bosch, KitchenAid, etc etc public opinion of him started to wane. I don't get it. Could it be he's simply trying to cash in on his celebrity? The bastard :blink: I'd do the same thing ... but many say I'm arrogant too.

He'll do fine, or he won't. Kinda like Marcus Nasslund. In the end he'll still have more money than I will and I don't begrudge him that for a second.

A.

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You're right, there are two sides to every story, including mine, which is based on first hand experience and second hand info from people I know and trust.

He is a great chef and I wish him well, I'm sure he will land on his feet.

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I tend to judge chefs by their work, and the two meals I've had at Lumiere have been quite impressive. I've also met Rob Feenie and I think it's safe to say that his ego is not appreciably larger than that of many other successful chefs. I can't say I'd want to be his BFF -- he probably wouldn't want to be mine either -- but that's also the case with a lot of chefs. More important is that he obviously cares deeply about food, and is able to put great food on the plate.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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He has toned down his arrogance a fair bit as of late, but certainly could have been considered an ego-maniac at many stages in his career. I imagine, that with these recent developments in his business life, that he's cooked himself up a nice plate of British Columbia Wild-Caught Humble Ravioli with Tobiko Beurre Blanc.

I've met him 4 times. The last being just a month or so ago, and he seemed noticably less pompous and a lot more gracious and generous with his time. Prior to that, was just after he won Iron Chef and was in Toronto doing a function with Mark McEwan. At this point, he was disgusting to be around. Mark was embarassed.

Regardless of which mask he wears, he's human; with a family he needs to look after and a human heart. I feel bad for him, but I think you'll see him in his own kitchen again quite soon. With less ego on the menu and a renewed focus.

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I have a feeling that in the next 10 days he'll either have his restaurants back with a new investor or will have gone public with news that he's got a new room in the pipe for 2009.

What we're hearing right now in the press is spin, because the truth is probably more about business than ego. The general sense I hear from people close to the story is that Rob has been too busy managing his fame rather than his restaurants, and it ended up biting him in the ass (again). With all the big names on his staff roster flying out the door for the past year the final dissolution really shouldn't come as a surprise. This was not a spontaneous combustion, but the result of slow rot.

The media meme is going to crucify the Sidoos. If they are half the social climbers that people say they are they will probably take the money that might be being offered again as we speak and invest it in a more profitable business, like a hot dog stand.

To the next investor, enjoy.


Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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WOW is right! I am a big fan of Rob Feenie's cooking. I've watched his shows and cheered to his defeating Iron Chef Morimoto(and I am a big fan of Morimoto as well).

Talent like Che Feenie's seldom stay in the back burner, I am sure he will be back, wiser in business for the experience and, I am certain, with a loud culinary roar. If I were 20 years younger, I would moved to Vancouver to work for him! I wish him all the best.

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Actually the more interesting story here is to see how Lumiere and Feenie's will fare without Feenie.

Rob Feenie opens another restaurant in Vancouver and the place is filled yesterday. But it would be fun to see Feenie head to TO instead.

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I was curious to see if a reservation was available for tonight so I checked out OpenTable. Lots of choice times available.

Can't remember ever being able to get into Lumiere on a Saturday evening without having reserved 2 weeks prior.

Must have had a deluge of cancellations when the froie gras hit the fan. :shock:


Edited by Dirty Rice (log)

"I went to a restaurant that serves breakfast at anytime.

So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance".

Steven Wright

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I was curious to see if a reservation was available for tonight so I checked out OpenTable.  Lots of choice times available. 

Can't remember ever being able to get into Lumiere  on a Saturday evening without having reserved 2 weeks prior. 

Must have had a deluge of cancellations when the froie gras hit the fan. :shock:

That's a little silly. Mr. Feenie hasn't been COOKING in these kitchens in a long time. The execution of the kitchen and the food is a tribute to a good menu (by Feenie) and excellent execution by his kitchen staff. Just because he's out of the restaurant in the media's eyes doesn't mean the quality would drop overnight. Seems like a good time to jump on this opportunity!


"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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read the article in the Vancouver sun this morning. this sounds like pure business to me. funny how people read into this stuff more than what is there as if they have some first hand knowledge of what was going on? i mean how many of us really know what the business deal was 2 years ago prior to the new investors coming on the scene and know what is set out in the legal agreements for that business deal. i am sure Rob will do fine, however, not so sure about the restaurants. i hope Rob was smart enough to ensure he could at least keep his name of the second restaurant in the event that things soured.


officially left egullet....

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Well, I haven't eaten at lumiere since the breakup, but regardless I think Stainsby today in the Sun echoes my sentiments. The second time I went about 5 years ago was better than the first, but that was the apex. It was downhill after that. Her comments seem perfectly consistent with the last time I was there.

The problem is though that the impact of ethereal heights is the strongest the first time you experience them. I'm not sure if I was not progressively less moved because I knew what to expect. So it's difficult to read Stainsby this morning without wondering if she was expecting it to be slightly sub-par (albeit the lumiere definition of par).

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We had chance to meet Rob Feenie and his wife during a weekend at Sonora Resort last August. At least in that setting, he was a very normal guy. We had a rare opportunity to talk with a professional about the restaurant scene in Vancouver and elsewhere, had a chance to see Feenie do a brief but excellent cooking demo and get a sense of his aspirations -- of course nothing was said about his business issues. I agree with the previous comment that Feenie will land well, whatever the travails of his recent partnership may have been. The business world is full of restaurant wannabees, so that money should not be a problem. And it seems clear that Feenie has a bunch of new ideas about cooking and restaurants (from his comments, fancy food a la Lumiere is not in the offing). With David Hawksworth's transition to a new venue, it portends to be a very interesting period for those of us who love the food scene in Vancouver.

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Should be fun watching the spin from both sides over the next few weeks.

Interestingly I found an article on Dale MacKay referrring to him as the new Executive Chef online in a magazine called Opulence:

Meet Dale MacKay. He's a local boy who took a leap of faith that paid off - big time. He has really big shoes to fill as the successor to Rob Feenie, and the new Executive Chef of famed restaurants Lumiere and Feenie's. Read his story...

This came out while the Feenie troubles were all still rumour but seems to support Feenie's version of being pushed aside.

Stainsby's review seems very tough on MacKay, dragging up that New Yorker article. She comes across as partisan to me.


Cheers,

Anne

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Dale Mackay was on Citycooks tonight - and seemed like a genuinely nice guy with a passion for cooking. In all likelihood - it was taped about a week ago, so it was before things got ugly officially. But he had nothing but high praise for Rob Feenie and said that he was hired by him directly. However - the conversation around RF was limited - and was more focused on his work with Gordon Ramsay.

I agree that the review was tough - especially qouting the nasty bits that Ramsay says about Mackay. No mention of the food at the NYC restaurant which Bill Burford seemed to love.

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Rob Feenie is brilliant and his work speaks for itself. Its so sad that he had to get screwed by his associates, but he'll come out stronger.

His next project WILL be incredible because success does not make a man wiser, mistakes do. His associates were the mistake.

Cheers.

TW

-Chicago-


eGullet Ethics Signatory

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Rob Feenie is brilliant and his work speaks for itself.  Its so sad that he had to get screwed by his associates, but he'll come out stronger.

His next project WILL be incredible because success does not make a man wiser, mistakes do.  His associates were the mistake.

Cheers.

TW

-Chicago-

I really didn't want to post again in this forum but after reading this, I felt compelled to.

As per my first post, there is more than one side to every story.

To wholeheartedly believe the "spin-doctored" version of what happened based on only one side of the story is somewhat foolish.

I am not taking away from Rob's incredible talents and skills in the kitchen. He is a truly gifted chef in every respect of the word and I, personally, admire the man.

But, that doesn't make him an excellent book-keeper or an expert at some of the other duties that regularly fall on an executive chef's shoulders.

This combined with long absences from the kitchen of both restaurants would lead any business operator to do what happened here.

He was not "screwed" by anyone and will probably walk away from it all with enough to start his own place in Vancouver or maybe in Toronto as the rumour mill goes.

Rob admits that he could not afford to operate both places and his associates were the ones providing the cash. Therefore, they have final say. Where is the screwing here?

If this was your business, would you let it be run financially into the ground or would you make an unpopular decision in order to save your hefty investment?

Pretty simple math in my opinion. And I would have done the same.

To hear the associates being called, "status climbers" and other assorted names is really childish and bitter about what comes down to a business decision.

In closing, I wish Rob nothing but the best and I am sure he will learn from his mistakes and move on to bigger and better things.

He certainly has gotten a lot of free press out of this and there ain't no such thing as bad press.

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Well, they are the only moneybags partners I have seen in this city who had their name as owners front and centre of every ad and press release. It was obnoxious.

I think the Sidoos saw a man with his back to the wall two years ago, and they decided they wanted the deed to the ranch.

Rob appears to have signed a bad deal, and he got burned.

I don't know if people will pay 180 for a tasting menu without his name on the menu. I do feel sorry for the new chef. He will fight an uphill battle to overcome this brouhaha, likely through no fault of his own.


The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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I don't know any of the parties involved, none of the behind-the-scenes machinations, and never been rich enough to eat at either restaurant, but I would think if everyone liked and respected each other, they'd find a way to make it work -- together. Sounds to me like egos clashed. Otherwise, if Feenie is as talented as everyone says, and I've no reason to doubt it, why on earth would you let him go?

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Not long ago I remember watching a program where Mr Feenie (quite rightly) stated that "in order to be successful you need to have a mind for the business...not just be a great chef "(paraphrasing)

On "the verge of bankruptcy" after 10 years of being arguably the most successful (and priciest) restaurant in Vancouver's history? That's where the really interesting story is...not in this drama that is clearly being spun for maximum pr. :wink:


Damian du Plessis

Bravo Restaurant & Lounge

Chilliwack, BC

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