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What Happened To Rob Feenie?

Food4201 Dec 9, 2007 07:52 PM

I am an out of town hound from Toronto and fell like I just got back from the Moon. How far out of the loop am I ??? I am coming to Vancouver in mid Febuary and made a reservation at Lumiere, the only reason being I have wanted to taste Rob Feenies food for sometime, and now I hear he is gone from both of his locations. I will be in Vancouver for three days and than moving off to Whistler for another Four days can someone please shed some light on this subject and maybe reccomened weather or not I should keep my reservations at either one of his former restaurants.

Thanks In Adavance.

  1. LotusRapper Sep 7, 2013 09:09 PM

    Here's the rundown:


    And some pretty frank sentiments from Boulud himself:



    G&M: If you could go back in time, what would you have done differently?

    DB: "Never go there. Because it was only out of friendship that I did it. There’s Los Angeles, San Francisco, there’s 10 cities before Vancouver that I could have chosen in America, you know what I mean?

    Montreal is different because Montreal is very close to New York and Montreal has been in my heart for a long time and I’ve been coming back and forth to this city for many years. I definitely feel a little bit more at home on this side [of the continent]."

    1 Reply
    1. re: LotusRapper
      superhunk Sep 8, 2013 04:29 PM

      Boulud never owned Lumiere/DB, he was paid a consulting fee for his brand name. None of the staff worked for Dinex, they worked for the local backers. In the 2.5 years I worked there Boulud visited....4 times?

      Lumiere tanked its first year with Boulud, after that it recovered and was at least breaking even. Hawksworth would have killed it anyway. DB tanked entirely and lost boatloads of money.

      Dale opened Ensemble after Lumiere/DB closed, and shortly after Ensemble Tap. Both restaurants hemorrhaged money and closed. He is opening a new restaurant in Saskatoon in the next few weeks.

    2. s
      SusieQ222 Sep 7, 2013 04:58 PM

      problems were not with Boulud...but previous business partners.

      1. s
        SusieQ222 Sep 7, 2013 04:49 PM

        Aaaaand apparently I am also out of the loop. Lumiere is now closed. other chef's name is Dale McKay. New question...what happened to Dale McKay?

        4 Replies
        1. re: SusieQ222
          NoMoreSnuggles Sep 9, 2013 09:34 AM

          Dale MacKay struck out on his own a few years back with Ensemble (in the old Piccolo Mondo > Saveur > Corner Suite location, now the Purple Olive), then Ensembletap (around the corner from the ScotiaBank Theatre). I suspect that the two locations over-extended his funding because they closed pretty quickly. That Thurlow location has been a challenge for people!

          Last I heard, MacKay was heading back to Saskatoon.

          1. re: SusieQ222
            vandan Sep 9, 2013 02:10 PM

            Dale McKay went back to Saskatoon ( his hometown) and opened up a restaurant fairly recently

            1. re: vandan
              kinnickinnik Sep 9, 2013 02:45 PM

              Lots of info here:

            2. re: SusieQ222
              moyenchow Sep 10, 2013 12:11 PM

              Here's a small update about Dale McKay from Lindsay Anderson (former 365 days of Dinning Blogger) on the ground in Saskatoon.


            3. s
              SusieQ222 Sep 7, 2013 04:42 PM

              Rob ran into some financial difficulties and was bought out by Daniel Bolud. They wanted to keep Feenie as head chef, but clashed on menu offerings. (This is what I have heard anyway.) He's still well respected as a chef and the duck club on Cactus Club's menu is awesome-apparently so is the pasta (ravioli?) with prawns someone at our table had. The chef at Lumiere now was recently on Top Chef Canada. He was with Gordon Ramsay before working for Bolud. Have never been to Lumiere-would like to try it...maybe soon.

              1. k
                kfed Apr 6, 2010 01:17 PM

                definitely a blast from the past. Feenie has improved the menu at Cactus Club tremendously. though quality control for casual chains are obviously a major issue and CC is no exception. i believe his title is the food architect or something ...
                sounds like he is really happy in this capacity and able to spend more time with family etc etc....

                2563W Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V6K2E9, CA

                1. y
                  YVR1 Apr 1, 2010 06:35 PM

                  Hey Food4201
                  Did you check out the Cactus Club restaurant?

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: YVR1
                    flowbee Apr 2, 2010 08:44 AM

                    Necro! I don't think Food4201 will be back on this board for a long time.

                    1. re: flowbee
                      fmed Apr 2, 2010 11:02 AM

                      Yep. A post from the dead.

                      Anyway to YVR1, there are plenty of reviews of Cactus Club to be found. Have a look at yelp.ca for example.

                      1. re: fmed
                        vandan Apr 3, 2010 10:01 AM

                        he went corporate

                        1. re: vandan
                          Bob Mac Apr 3, 2010 11:19 AM

                          When Cactus Club opened a "store" here in Edmonton, he was quite often on site talking wtih clientele like me. Have not seen him for quite some time.

                          He was also chef in residence at N.A.I.T. who have a culinary cooking program.

                          This year it is David Adjey [sp?]

                          1. re: Bob Mac
                            vandan Apr 3, 2010 02:17 PM

                            i've heard that he only visits in summer :)

                            1. re: vandan
                              Bob Mac Apr 5, 2010 10:48 AM

                              LOL...if I had my way, I would only visit here during the summer too [smile]

                  2. h
                    hsk Dec 9, 2007 09:19 PM

                    There's a huge thread on it in the western Canada forum at egullet.com.

                    I was at Lumiere Aug 31 and I thought it was pretty good. Apparently he wasn't there already at that time, and didn't actually cook much when even when he was. I'm not sure I'd go regularly at $180 per person, but as an out-of-towner trying out what was currently on offer in Vancouver it was great. Lots of courses (I think around 10 or so), can't remember the details, but really interesting food and great service. I'd recommend you keep your reservation at Lumiere. I didn't go to Feenies so I can't comment on what it's like.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ChefsMenuTasting
                      italianlover Dec 10, 2007 09:09 PM

                      Here's the story from the Vancouver Sun about the whole situation:


                    2. b
                      Bob Mac Dec 9, 2007 08:16 PM

                      I do not live in Vancouver so am not close at hand but as a result of a conflict...facts unknown and much hyperbole and rumour... no doubt subject to expensive litigation...Feenie has been "replaced" as the executive chef at both Lumiere and his namesake Feenie's.

                      Lawsuits to follow.

                      Do not know if either restaurant has suffered.

                      Feenie was replaced by another Canadian chef who was formerly at Gordon Ramsey's restaurant in NYC...good article from I think the New Yorker elsewhere within this website...who I have heard good things about. Never having eaten at either spot I am not sure if they will have suffered from chef's departure.

                      This site is more Calgary-centric but maybe someone who is from or has recently visited Vancouver can be of more assistance.

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