A Memoir of the Great Chef

February 11, 2019

Today would have been the 93rd birthday of Paul Bocuse, named by many as the Chef of the twentieth century, a genius.  I am privileged to have the memory of a glorious meal at his restaurant in Lyons so many years ago.

For reasons that escape me, in about 1974 or 1975, I was working on marketing for a haulage company in Bristol, England. One of our major customers was a huge steel company in Lyons. A meeting was arranged for a group of us to travel to Lyons, tour the factory, and, hopefully, to sign a long term haulage contract.  I have a very hazy recollection of a huge engineering works, with furnaces and hundreds of workers; and no recall at all of the negotiations for a new contract.  But things must have gone well because on the second morning we were driven to Paul Bocuse’s restaurant.

I remember we arrived at about noon. By the time we emerged more than five hours had passed. I have a vision of a grand rustic hall and a central table seating at least twenty-four.  I don’t remember any women being in the party, though that may just be a fault of memory.  What we ate, and what we drank — vast amounts of both — I cannot possibly recall in detail but there were many courses.  Before dessert was served, as I recall, M. Bocuse came to the table and we each solemnly shook hands with him, offering our thanks.

I knew two things by the end of it:  I had certainly never eaten so well in my entire life maybe never would again, and, I would always crave creme fraiche.

I haven’t returned to Lyons since then.  Paul Bocuse died about a year ago.

Reminder: Public Hearing for 815-825 Commercial

February 11, 2019

This is a reminder that a public hearing on the proposed redevelopment of 815-825 Commercial (and 1680 Adanac) is scheduled for 12th February at 6:00pm at City Hall.  That’s tomorrow night.

The proposal is for a 6-storey mixed use development with commercial at grade and 38 rental units above. There was an open house for the project last April after which I stated my support for most aspects of the design and the mix of apartments proposed.


However, I objected to the project in the end, having noted the following at the open house:

“The very first thing I heard one of the developers’ reps say to someone else as I walked into the presentation room was ‘No, these aren’t designed to be “affordable” units. The one beds will probably start at around $2,200 [a month]’.”

The notice from Vancouver Planning says quite specifically that the units will be “affordable”, but the development documents say they will be “market”.  As we have seen in so many recent developments, City Planning seems to think that $2,200 is affordable for a one-bedroom apartment.  I don’t, and I am sure that the 50% of Vancouver workers who get paid median incomes or lower will also disagree.

If you have concerns or interest, please make yourself available to speak at the public hearing.

Image: Philadelphia #1

February 11, 2019

Poem: Harvest

February 11, 2019


It’s raining;

trapped in the house again

with a bottle and the balance

of the sandwich

from yesterday:

I’ll stretch the bread from here to tomorrow.

Harvesting the crumbs

from carpet and cardigan,

I will not be worried

in the midst of such plenty.

It’s raining again.