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Big Clogs to Fill


jamiemaw
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Chef Scott Kidd has moved on from his role as instructor at Dubrulle to head up Cafe de Paris. Scott has a lengthy history in town and at Whistler, most recently at Jack Evrensel's Araxi.

Scott has an interesting resume:

"Taking a detour from his third year studies at pre-med school Scott opted to leave Vancouver and travel in France and England. The decision to trade in stethoscope for whisk followed when he enrolled in the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Sussex, England. After working in Britain, for Anthony Worral Thompson at London’s Ménage a Trois he returned to BC in 1985 to explore the food scene along the Pacific shore. Over the past 18 years he has played a prominent part in the creation and promotion of West Coast cuisine and has worked in some of the coast's top regional restaurants including Sooke Harbour House, Le Gavroche, and Bishop's and Lola's. A two time veteran at the prestigious James Beard House, most recently in May 2002, Scott was executive chef of Araxi for three years."

He's a high quality chef and a great guy--reasons enough to pay him a visit. (You may recall his predecessor's ambitious posting on this site following the Restaurant Awards earlier this year.) I just hope that he can convince the owners to let him put his smoked albacore and creme fraiche dish on the menu.

Scott Baechler, who drew accolades following his James Beard debut last year, and who swiftly took Diva at the Met to the top of hotel dining rooms at the Restaurant Awrds this past April, is decamping. Call it "If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen"--but Scott is actually turning up the heat even more--he's moving his young family to Dubai shortly to head up the Fairmont Dubai's kitchens.

Just spoke to the owner of Chambar --they're on final approach and are still trying for a late July opening but "want to get everything right"--it may fall into the first week of August.

Communications will be handled by Cate Simpson.

Rob Feenie at Lumiere has just signed a contract for a million dollar retrofit of his kitchens.

More news when it happens.

Jamie

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Excellent updates Jamie! Thank you.

Glad to hear Scott Kidd will be back in action in the kitchen. I enjoyed many a unique dish of his at Araxi and look forward to his contributions to Cafe de Paris. Is there a date set for when he will be at Cafe de Paris or is he already there?

"Expect nothing, be prepared for anything."

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Rob Feenie  at Lumiere has just signed a contract for a million dollar retrofit of his kitchens.

Anyone with a better grasp of the financial innerworkings of the restaurant biz than I care to explain this?

Restaurant is already close to capacity, where does the payback come from? Purely ego thing, having an absolute state of the art facility? I can understand if this was in conjunction with a dining area expansion, but this seems to purely increase costs with no ability to generate extra revenue. What am I missing?

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Anyone with a better grasp of the financial innerworkings of the restaurant biz than I care to explain this?

RF Drive-Thru

Jamie

Okay, anyone with a better grasp of the financial innerworkings of the restaurant biz than Jamie or I want to take a shot at this?

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I am happy for Scott to be back in the saddle, I have been paying attention to his chefing since 89; back in the Le Gavroche days. I had a chance to work with him at Lola’s, he is a great chef and a great guy, I would always jump at the chance to work with him if the opportunity arose.

Thanks Jamie maw for the great insider info, love the work you have been doing in Vancouver over the years, I respect your opinion, you are a breath of fresh air in a sea of conformity in the Van food media scene, like us chefs you have been around and paid your dues, I like the way you write and you have some objectivity in your approach on food critiquing and it is not always about the furniture and what I can gather over the years I think you even know how to cook good food, not just write about.

I look forward to more of your postings and any food media that you happen to produce.

stovetop

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Rob Feenie at Lumiere has just signed a contract for a million dollar retrofit of his kitchens
RF Drive-Thru
Okay, anyone with a better grasp of the financial innerworkings of the restaurant biz than Jamie or I want to take a shot at this?

--------------------------------------

Boy Ketih you are a pistol.

:biggrin:

Rob Feenie is a big name, by lending his name to a kitchen outfiting company he is increasing exposure to the equipment company, it is like big sports stars lending their name to a running shoe, is that closer to what you are looking for .

stovetop

Edited by stovetop (log)
Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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by lending his name to a kitchen outfiting company he is increasing exposure to the equipment company, it is like big sports stars lending their name to a running shoe

Sorry, still doesn't compute. That would explain why it might not cost him $1,010,000. I don't know how you could spend a million on just the kitchens. And as Keith says, you're pissing it away if you can't generate revenue from it.

Maybe it's a TV studio / kitchen? I could see that costing a bundle.

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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It would seem to me that he is doing it for probably two reasons. One is that the kitchen needs a little work, the place is almost 10 years old. It would be a cooks best anniversary gift. His investors have got to be happy. Contrary to most restaurant investors and non-cook owners the equipment does not last forever, it does not always function as it should and like a car, continual repair costs do add up. The second is that if he is an investor, then he can determine that the investment is necessary. Maybe this is a sign that he is putting show business aside for now, or he has learned to balance his dual identity (Chef / TV GUY) and is ready to take a more active role in the operation. What can the other investors say when the track record is this good. What is this not a good investment.

I dont' know, I am probably wrong but it seems plausible.

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Hey; you never ask why does the kitchen cost that amount of money; I could spend a million easy on my kitchen, could I get a financial return on it if I had the same visibility as Rob; sure why not, With that amount of money you can cruise through things with the support of technology in kitchen equipment, my god there are combi ovens out there that costs about 20,000 CDN, they are incredible and you can pump out the food and still keep the quality perfect, are we getting into a semantically discussion her again on E-gullet, does it really matter, I am confused myself, is the fact that we can not understand how he is going to re-cover all that money; is that the question???

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Yes, how does he recover his $1M investment? Granted, some of it may be "necessary" maintenance, but anything beyond that is wasted if it doesn't somehow help him increase volume, increase his selling price, or decrease his operating costs.

To use Kevin's car analogy, if I'm in the taxi business, and I've got a '98 Buick Century that needs some maintenance, maybe I need to spend a couple thousand on it - needs new brakes, tires, and some transmission work. But blowing $20K "pimpin'" it with new chrome wheels, custom paint and interior neon lighting is probably not a good investment. Unless of course I'm actually going into the pimp business.

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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Rob Feenie at Lumiere has just signed a contract for a million dollar retrofit of his kitchens.

Ah, does that mean two kitchens, that would be 500,000 each, that is not that much money, that could also include house wares, at 50 bucks a plate; lets see copper pots, really good line fridges, ice cream maker, a good sous vide machine cost 30,000 alone, my god it is really not that much money, is it exorbitant, maybe, but we are missing some details, a contract with whom, and we still do not know how much of that he is paying??

stove

PS New steel work can be 100,000 grand alone so tht leaves $400,000 left

Edited by stovetop (log)
Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Oh! Come ON! a million bucks in a kitchen? Get serious. What the hell are they building? (besides a media buzz, as usual)... It's not a 500 seat 5 star hotel production space, after all. Just the usual PR BS.

Anyways, Jamie was writing about recent moves in the business of real, working chefs. Too bad to see Scott Baechler leaving our fair city (why is it that all good Diva chefs get the call to move away? Who’s next on that merry-go-round?) Another observation; as much as I’ve enjoyed Scott Kidd’s food, he seems to move around a hell of a lot, still finding his way, I suppose. Many “hot” chefs in the industry have a great talent for food, but lack the essential skills to make a good chef, like cost control, time management, employee relations and a reasonable handle on the excesses of life. (Not that I’m any expert on that, having written this at the very late end of a busy Friday night and a few glasses of big Italian red.)

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You got to remember just because you are the chef does not always mean that you have the will and control over the menu, the owner always has the control, never forget that, and yes I could spend a million easy on a kitchen, it really is not that difficult; Italian and French tile work, Full drainage, fully metal kitchen all under ventilation, that alone could cost about 600, 000 for full air conditioning and intake air to control the flow between the kitchen and the dining room all controled by a computer network.

Edited by stovetop (log)
Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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like us chefs you have been around and paid your dues

Thanks Stovetop. I had always thought you to be a fine judge of character. Your comments make a great foil to the hilarious (and hysterical) letter to the editor that we ran this month in Van Mag from a Ms. Eleni Scher. We (barely) restrained ourselves from suggesting that she change her medication before picking up her pen again.

Her rant underscores a point though.Vancouver, still a rather small burg, suffers from Tall Poppy Syndrome, I'm afraid. You could cut the jealousy with a knife. But I remain of the opinion that the excellence portrayed by one restaurant (or winery or supplier or staff member) floats all the boats a little higher. Just look at the draw for the Okanagan that Mission Hill has beoome.

Interestingly though, the jealousy/sour grapes thing is more a concern to foodies than the chefs themselves, most of whom, as you know, get along just fine--playing hockey together, barbecuing together, lending staff on slam nights, even vacationing together. The other stuff is just a tempest in a (very small) stock pot, I'm afraid.

Looks like I'd better get some more details about the Lumiere kitchens though. Mainly because Tall Poppy Syndrome + Stockpot = Opium.

Then we can all scher and scher alike.

Jamie

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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We just built a million dollar plus open post and beam kitchen at our Outpost Resort (Clayoqout Wilderness Resorts and Spa). It is very possible to spend that much when you have things like a 70 foot doublesided river rock fireplace, high end appliances, beam work. It took ten guys to haul in the five foot thick ten foot square 500 pound butcher block (friggin gorgeous) We also have a multi million dollar authentic native longhouse in which we serve dinners in. When you construct a kitchen / restaurant completely in cedar, with heated slate floors, wired for every multimedia / internet / satelite communications etc. it starts to add up quick.

Edited by paul mitchell (log)
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and yes I could spend a million easy on a kitchen, it really is not that difficult; Italian and French tile work, Full drainage, fully metal kitchen all under ventilation, that alone could cost about 600, 000 for full air conditioning and intake air to control the flow between the kitchen and the dining room all controled by a computer network.

I was going to add my two bits worth on this based on stovetop's and others' line of thinking as well. I am a residential kitchen designer, and with basic Sub Zero fridges starting at just under $10K and Wolf ranges in a similar price range for residential quality, one can easily assume that commercial grade appliances are going to be much more expensive ... add to that the HVAC and plumbing as stovetop mentioned ... I'd LOVE to have that contract :smile:

Perhaps on a more cynical note ... isn't it just good PR to have people talking about Feenie's new Million Dollar Kitchen whether it costs that much or not?

DA

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Perhaps on a more cynical note ... isn't it just good PR to have people talking about Feenie's new Million Dollar Kitchen whether it costs that much or not?

Well said:

It is all about PR---creating an image as a product; he is now known all over the world; he represents Vancouver well, others are better but they can not pull it together day in and day out for as long as he has. In the restaurant business that is what it is all about.

stove

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Your comments make a great foil to the hilarious (and hysterical) letter to the editor that we ran this month in Van Mag from a Ms. Eleni Scher. We (barely) restrained ourselves from suggesting that she change her medication before picking up her pen again.

Her rant underscores a point though.Vancouver, still a rather small burg, suffers from Tall Poppy Syndrome, I'm afraid. You could cut the jealousy with a knife.

Then we can all scher and scher alike.

Jamie,

With all the respect you are due for years of honourable service to the Vancouver restaurant scene, isn't the mark of a big city also that we can tolerate dissenting (even somehwat schizoid) opinions without belittling the author?

I don't agree with what Ms. Scher said, but (I sound like some Amurrikin free speach advocate here) I do think she should have the right to say it without fear of ridicule. It can only serve to lower the level of discourse in town.

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Back to the almost topic, there's no question that RF could spend a million bucks reterofitting a kitchen, the question is how does it make financial sense? Using the standard 10% net profit margin, the restaurant needs to sell 10 million extra just to break even. I understand tye need to maintain the kitchen, but this large an investment makes no sense from a finacial perspective, unless there's more to the story.

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Does he really have enough space to invest a million?I am sure the figure has been rounded off.His present kitchen is quite small with absolutely no storage.I am told there is very little fridge space,pick-up area and quite cumbersome as well.If he has the cash-go for it.As long as it is a great work space ,it will enhance the food,which will enhance the clientele and will make his buss.more profitable.

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Jamie,

Sounds like time for your own web site and forum, really enjoy reading all your tit bits and information on the movers and shakers.

I'm sure you could think of a few sponsors to get the thing up and running and judging from your following in Van Mag it is sure to be a hit even with Ms Scher.

Any thoughts?

MAP

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With all the respect you are due for years of honourable service to the Vancouver restaurant scene, isn't the mark of a big city also that we can tolerate dissenting (even somehwat schizoid) opinions without belittling the author?

That's what I try and teach my kids anyway ...

I'm glad somebody piped up. I found the belittling a tad beneath us all. Perhaps if Ms. Scher had a chance to reply to the posts (something she doesn't have in Jamie's home medium) this could become a more level playing field.

Sounds like time for your own web site and forum, really enjoy reading all your tit bits and information on the movers and shakers.

I've been thinking we need a forum host around here.

DA

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