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Chef Fowke

Opening Soon.

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placed in downtown Vancouver within walking distance of five of Canada’s best hotels

Any possibilty of getting a little more clarity on the location? That way when I dream about this place at night, I can do it with a little more accuracy.

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Congratulations on your new venture Chef Fowke. I live in the Vancouver area so I will be one of your first guests when you open the doors. The farmer's market sounds exciting as well - can never have too many sources for good product.

In the meantime I look forward to following this thread and hearing about the planning and details. It's all very interesting. Have you considered being the subject for an episode of FTV's "Opening Soon"?

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Just wanted to add my congratulations. The menu sounds fantastic! It's certainly an ambitious project--one that will fail or succeed spectacularly. I'll be hoping for the latter, of course, and look forward to your progress.

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I trust you'll have space dedicated solely for making pastrami. :smile:


"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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Hey!, it's called Montreal smoked meat :biggrin: . I'm glad Chef Fowke made the name change on the menu for his new upcoming restaurant.

-Steve


Edited by SteveW (log)

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Balancing one's culinary integrity as a chef with the need to be a businessperson is the kind of challenge people face in many creative endeavors. Most mega-restaurant operations of the kind you're planning sacrifice creativity for a lowest-common-denominator bottom line. But a serious chef with strong guiding principles can use a larger platform to bring high quality work to a large number of people -- and that's a great thing.

And this is why, Steven, it has taken me close to a year to get ready to quit at Joe’s and start planning the new venture. I have spent the last year searching for the right people who understand my passion and will develop my ideas to a higher level. Yes, at the end of the day 50% of the pride of operation will come from satisfying 1000’s of customers a day with great food and wine but 50% will come from running a well developed business plan that produces a profit.

When the original business plan was being developed with started by developing a financial spreadsheet to see how much revenue we needed to generate and what our cost of sales would need to be to survive. From there we started to develop and nurture the dream. Weekly we review all of the new plans to that original financial spreadsheet. It is really, really hard to stop being a chef and becoming a restaurant operator. A lot of different functions and realities need to be balanced to be successful.

Luckily everyone in my development group believes that QUALITY is a profit center and we can prove it with the original financial spreadsheet.


Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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Hey!, it's called Montreal smoked meat  :biggrin: . I'm glad Chef Fowke made the name change on the menu for his new upcoming restaurant.

-Steve

As the day is long I will never open a restaurant that does not have Montreal Smoked meat on it! Life is too short not to have brisket close at hand... :raz:


Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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I trust you'll have space dedicated solely for making pastrami. :smile:

We plan on moving 200 - 300 pastrami sandwiches a day in peak season!


Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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Would you consider bringing in Schwartzes smoked meat from Montreal?

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Chef, I commend you very much for planning to bring in Canada Prime grade beef in this new restaurant venture. Outside of one steakhouse in Winnipeg, you would be the only other restaurant in Canada carrying Canada Prime. How easy/hard is it going to secure the Canada Prime beef? I'm guessing relatively easy, with basically zero demand for this grade beef within Canada. The ratio of Canadian beef graded Canada Prime, must be around the same ratio of US beef graded US Prime?? Since Canada Prime beef was introduced approx. 7-8 years ago, I have not heard anyone in Canada(outside of talk, in a food discussion group like eGullet) demanding it. Many butchers & restaurateurs in Montreal, have not even heard of Canada Prime beef!!! Could you compare the prices between Canada Prime grade beef vs US Prime grade beef(I'm pretty sure, US Prime beef is a little more expensive)?

-Steve

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At least one hotel and one other restaurant are using Canadian Prime beef in Vancouver; 900 West at the Hotel Vancouver and West Restaurant.

The price on Canadian prime is staggering. When J&L meats (the last of the slaughter houses in BC) closed it was only slaughtering 4 prime cattle a week! That’s only 8 tenderloins and striploins.

I am looking to Alberta to fulfill my need in Prime.

The important part of my restaurant venture is it is using quality as a profit center. The portion on the meat will be small (which will help keep the price realistic/no sticker shock). The meals are intended to be samplings so you can try three or four proteins at each meal.

Now this brings us back to another thread; I have chosen to use Canadian prime because it is finished on barley vs. corn in the USA. The fat and marbling are pure white and the flavor is distinctively cleaner and the fat smoother. It is a matter of taste but I believe if enough people try the product they will be converts.


Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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It has been really hard not to ask the eGullet community for help over the last few months with my new venture. I have been diligent in working out my contract at Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House as the executive chef to its glorious end.

I have been in transition for the last 4 months with the new chef (Chef Michael Lampuu; Four Seasons Hotel fame) and have concentrated on finishing my time at Joe’s on a high note.

As many Egullet members know I in the process of opening my new concept restaurant in Vancouver this year. A concept that sees 350 full service seats surrounding a high volume open (walk through ‘food network’ style) kitchen placed in downtown Vancouver within walking distance of five of Canada’s best hotels.

The restaurant will be structured around Vancouver’s largest indoor FOOD MARKET with many unique European and American features that will make it a leading venue in the North American food service industry. Not only will the market offer a full 15 000sq farmers market with the freshest in produce, seafood (where is the best place to buy fresh seafood? The busiest restaurant in the City!!!), meats and wines but the customer will be able to enjoy the products found within the market space in a selection of eight unique dining rooms with full international style table service.

The space we are looking at is over 30 000sq feet. The management team is in its infancy and is developing with the business plan every day. A full business plan has been developed and prospective investors have been approached and finalization of the partnership will be complete by the end of the year….

I would be interested in hearing from other eGullet member their opinions on the concept. As the discussion grows I will offer additional data, specs and details.

I am looking at an extremely large project that has never been attempted in Canada. I want to thank, in advance, members of Egullet, such as Wesza, who has help launched this project out of its infancy!!

Food Network has its Reality TV. I want to start a restaurant based on the combined knowledge of Egullet!!!

I was trying to visualize exactly what area you're talking about. Is it Granville Island? Don't want to say anything else until I know what part of town you're talking about. Robyn

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I am looking at a few buildings up from the seabus terminal. I want to attract customers from the local hotels, financial district as well as the commuters.


Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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I am vaguely familiar with that area, and of Vancouver itself. However, I believe Chef's creation will be a destination type of establishment. :smile:

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I am vaguely familiar with that area, and of Vancouver itself. However, I believe Chef's creation will be a destination type of establishment. :smile:

Exactly. A good example of what one really good destination type place can do is the development of the Warehouse District/upper CBD in New Orleans. The World's Fair (unfairly and highly underrated) was hoped to be the spark, but it was another 5 or six years before someone finally caught on to the idea that if you have a real destination, people will come. Prior to the opening of Emeril's, there had been very few places of note that had been able to make a go of it for a very long time (including the much missed Esther's, which was open for about two years). After Emeril had his first real success, places started popping up all over (greatly helped by a Warehouse to Resedential building boom) and now the place(10 years later) is filled with great places to eat. Now the whole district is not only desirable, it is a destination in itself.

It only takes one place and I salute the one's that are brave enough (and smart enough if they are right) to take the plunge.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I am looking at a few buildings up from the seabus terminal. I want to attract customers from the local hotels, financial district as well as the commuters.

My recollection is a bit foggy - and I hope I haven't mixed up Vancouver with another city (I do that sometimes) - but I recall a fair amount of construction in that general area near the waterfront from last year. Don't know what it will look like when it's all done - but if it winds up being nice - and it probably will - I think just about everything in Vancouver is nice <smile> - you are certainly better off making your real estate deals when everything is still a bit of a mess. You just have to make sure you're capitalized adequately to get things going. Best wishes for a successful venture, Robyn

P.S. I am almost sure all the construction I remember was in Vancouver. We lunched with a friend who told us that people who thought they were buying "water-views" were suing because buildings were being put up between their views and the water.

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I am vaguely familiar with that area, and of Vancouver itself.  However, I believe Chef's creation will be a destination type of establishment.  :smile:

Exactly. A good example of what one really good destination type place can do is the development of the Warehouse District/upper CBD in New Orleans. The World's Fair (unfairly and highly underrated) was hoped to be the spark, but it was another 5 or six years before someone finally caught on to the idea that if you have a real destination, people will come. Prior to the opening of Emeril's, there had been very few places of note that had been able to make a go of it for a very long time (including the much missed Esther's, which was open for about two years). After Emeril had his first real success, places started popping up all over (greatly helped by a Warehouse to Resedential building boom) and now the place(10 years later) is filled with great places to eat. Now the whole district is not only desirable, it is a destination in itself.

It only takes one place and I salute the one's that are brave enough (and smart enough if they are right) to take the plunge.

The problem with the warehouse district in New Orleans in my opinion is that although there are things to see and do there - we especially liked the D-Day museum our last trip - it's not exactly the kind of area where you get out of the cab - and poke around on foot for a couple of hours - without knowing where you're going. The attractions aren't dense enough for that yet (although perhaps they will be a few years down the road). Robyn

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The problem with the warehouse district in New Orleans in my opinion is that although there are things to see and do there - we especially liked the D-Day museum our last trip - it's not exactly the kind of area where you get out of the cab - and poke around on foot for a couple of hours - without knowing where you're going. The attractions aren't dense enough for that yet (although perhaps they will be a few years down the road). Robyn

Well, since you desire more ......

You can go here next time you are in town. The place is wonderful and we are lucky to have it.

Incidentally, I know I am a local and all, but most people these days walk around down there pretty worry free. But I know what you mean.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I know that this venture will be big enough and will have many, many revenue streams that will attract people to it. All the prime spots (i.e. Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House) have been taken and are worth a fortune for lease! I believe this location will gather all the tourist (because of the scale and the grandeur), the hotel business (specifically businessman/women looking for nurturing food and some excitement around the European style bar and communal tables) and the locals who are looking for the convenience of a great, reasonable priced meal, that is full of 'show' and a farmer' market for take-home produce, dairy (cheese) meats and dry-goods.

Excitement, show, practicality and convenience all in one. How can you go wrong? Who else is doing it?


Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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The problem with the warehouse district in New Orleans in my opinion is that although there are things to see and do there - we especially liked the D-Day museum our last trip - it's not exactly the kind of area where you get out of the cab - and poke around on foot for a couple of hours - without knowing where you're going.  The attractions aren't dense enough for that yet (although perhaps they will be a few years down the road).  Robyn

Well, since you desire more ......

You can go here next time you are in town. The place is wonderful and we are lucky to have it.

Incidentally, I know I am a local and all, but most people these days walk around down there pretty worry free. But I know what you mean.

Thanks for the tip. I was just looking up the touring schedule for the new Diane Arbus show - and unfortunately - the closest it will be to us is Houston. Would have preferred New Orleans.

By the way - I didn't find the area threatening. It was just hot - and there weren't enough places I could duck into to get a dose of AC! Robyn

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Hi Coop,

I spoke with a colleague, who mentioned that Brian had decided that Toronto might be a better location for it.

There is a lot of incestuous chatter amongst our lot, so I'm not sure how much there is too that.

I must say, though, that of all the projects I've been involved in, large or small, this one seems the most ambitious. . . . having trolled for investors for many projects previously, I wish Brian the most luck.


I'm no expert on the restaurant industry, but I know a thing or two about drug abuse ...

-Daddy-A (Kitchen Troll)

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Before the rumour mill takes over, I suggest reading this recent thread authored by Chef Fowke himself. :wink:

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Yes I am working on a project in Toronto, with never leaving Vancouver. It is systems based for a restaurant group. All done and set-up on/over the internet (very much way of the future stuff for restaurants à POS set up to suppliers, etc)

No my restaurant is not opened, yet.

I have found a location.

I have found a partner

I have a chef to work with me

I have the kitchen hired

I have 90% of the front of the house staff

The business plan is finished

The employee manuals are complete

The Menu is done, costed, suppliers online

The demographic study is completed

Our marketing strategy is in place

We returned our primary investors cheques and subscription agreement three weeks ago because of integrity reasons. We no longer could work with him, more to come after we decide if we are taking legal action.

We have another primary investor; who has great ideas about business. He raises capitol for resource speculators internationally. We are re-writing out ten-year plan and seeing if it fits with his needs.

So…

I am extremely poor, now. All my money has been spent on this project getting it to this point. My partner and I decided to not take any seed money and have a majority of the project financed through a limited partnership agreement. We should be able to tie up the financing in the next four to eight weeks.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right. I will see this through to the end. The buzz on the street is strong for the project and so is the support. As long as I can live on Kraft dinner for the next two months we will be back on track soon.

Anyone wanting to send a care package…


Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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