Monday, February 28, 2011

Hello again, goodbye and congratulations

Since last I wrote, I've moved back to Toronto. It's for very ordinary reasons involving a promotion for my husband and a desire to be closer to family as we get closer to starting our own. It was also a very fast turnaround. We found out we were moving and a month later we were here. We had to sell our much beloved first home on the north side of False Creek (with a view of the concrete plant on Granville Island), not to mention saying goodbye to all the friends we'd made over the past nearly five years.

It doesn't help that we moved to Toronto just before winter. Stupid, stupid move.

But we bought a fantastic place smack in the heart of the core of downtown Toronto. I have work and I can walk to it. I'm with family and friends I've missed for almost five years.

So hello again to Toronto and goodbye to Vancouver.

I say goodbye not only to the city I have now come to -- dare I say it -- love for all its quirks, but also to a home within a home.

If you've read this blog before you've probably come across it because of my meanderings as a kitchen intern at Lumiere restaurant. I spent every Friday for half a year learning everything from deveining foie gras to where the ice machine is. It changed me, however cliche that sounds. I approach ingredients and cooking with more confidence than I ever did before, even after a lifetime of cooking with my mother. I got to meet people who were incredibly talented, fun and young. I felt like a part of the team and it became a kind of home for me.

I was incredibly saddened to learn that Lumiere and its sister restaurant, db Bistro, will be closing March 12th. I haven't spoken with anyone I used to work with, but from what I gather it has to do with a combination of factors including the HST, stricter drunk driving laws and location (the fact that it isn't downtown has always been a factor in foot traffic).

It's certainly not a total surprise for watchers. Rumours of closures have been around for ages. But that's all they were at the time. I didn't want to believe them. I was just falling in love and didn't want to hear a terminal diagnosis.

Yet here we are. And in my opinion Vancouver will be worse for it. It's a culinary institution and soon it will no longer be.

My first thought is for all the servers and cooks. I have no doubt they will find employment, and soon. Talented people in the culinary world are always in demand. I also have no doubt they will all go on to do something great. I've always known that. Nevertheless it's hard to think they may not be moving forward as a team, the way I've always known them.

I'm sad that I will not be able to dine there when I visit Vancouver. I didn't just love it because I knew the people there. They made EVERYONE feel at home. From the first time I went there in their new incarnation as a Daniel Boulud production I felt comfortable, well fed and happy. I have since discovered it's rare to be able to find this combination.

And yet I say congratulations because I also found out that my former chef at Lumiere is now a competitor for Top Chef Canada. They just announced it today. Dale Mackay will be the only chef representing Vancouver, which is a distinction for him and a shame for the show. In my opinion, Vancouver is the best food city in Canada.

I'll be watching the show proudly, knowing that Dale and his soon-to-be former co-workers are some of the best at what they do. Knock 'em dead.

1 comment:

Steph said...

I am also very sad they are leaving. Love these restaurants. At least now I have a better excuse to visit NYC more often to eat at Daniel Boulud's restaurants!