The inaugural Michelin Guide Vancouver gave eight local chefs the coveted white jacket—but also acknowledged some local bar stars.
Michelin restaurant inspectors look for high-quality ingredients, personality of the creators on the plate, plus a harmony of flavours and mastery of technique—all consistent over multiple visits. The same ingredients go into a Michelin-quality bar, as Vancouver discovered on October 27 as the Michelin Guide granted world-class honours in the city for the first time.
The Exceptional Cocktail Award in Michelin’s first-ever Vancouver Guide recognized Botanist Bar, where creative beverage director Grant Sceney and head bartender Jeff Savage (both past World Class Canada cocktail-competition champions) put their imprint on a menu with distinctly Pacific Northwest seasonal ingredients and drinks that deliver a multi-sensory cocktail hour. Michelin recognized the “mind-blowing creativity and skills” Botanist Bar serves nightly.
“Making not only cocktails, but experiences for our guests, is something very near and dear to our hearts,” Savage said in a press release, thanking guests for continuing “to sit at our bar and grant us the ability to do what we love to do.” Botanist and The Lobby Lounge & RawBar both landed on the Recommended lists for restaurants, as well.
Also earning multiple mentions was Published on Main, possibly Vancouver’s most-lauded restaurant at the moment: as Michelin Vancouver event co-host Mijune Pak (the Vancouver-based judge on Canada’s Top Chef) noted, “It’s on every list!” Jayton Paul, already B.C.’s Sommelier of the Year for 2022 won the coveted Michelin Sommelier Award (while Published on Main, previously named Canada’s Best Restaurant in 2022, earned one coveted Michelin star). “We know how much training, education and passion you put into your craft,” Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin guides, said from the event stage.
Paul, an Albertan who has worked at New Zealand wineries, has a Vancouver resumé that includes long stints at Chambar, Nightingale and Hawksworth. His list at Published is heavy with low-intervention B.C. wines, skin-contact natural whites and carefully curated bottles and glasses from around the world.
Other notable winners included Kissa Tanto’s “always gracious” hospitality receiving the Michelin Service Award, and eight restaurants that earned one Michelin star: AnnaLena, Barbara, Burdock & Co., iDen & Quan Ju De Beijing Duck House, Kissa Tanto, Masayoshi, Published on Main and St. Lawrence.
—by Charlene Rooke