Breaking Down the Celebrity Chef Restaurant Paradigm

Posted by on May 27, 2011

It’s rare for me to criticize a restaurant in writing for various reasons. For example, the restaurant might have had an “off” night, the article might be irrelevant to readers in other cities, or it’s plainly not worth my while.

I am, however, taking time to write this because the issue lies in the bigger picture:


Celebrity chef restaurants.


Note: portions are smaller than they appear.
Ensemble Restaurant Vancouver Hamachi by Melody Fury

4 bites of hamachi $15

There are chefs that are promoted to celebrity chef status purely for their talent and hard-earned achievements. I’m willing to be on a waiting list or to plan my trip around a meal because I have no doubt that it’ll be worth every dime and second. A few household names are Grant Achatz, Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon, you know the drill.

Ensemble Restaurant Vancouver Spot Prawn Cocktail by Melody Fury

Spot prawn cocktail $11 ($9 / lb at the market)

Then, there are those that regard their celebrity status first and are chefs second. They became famous for their charismatic stage presence and so groupies flock to their restaurants and merchandise. It’s only a matter of time until they have no control or even idea of what their restaurants are serving.

Gordon Ramsay immediately comes to mind. I refuse to step foot in Flay’s gaudy grills. Wolfgang Puck stands at the bottom rung because the only times I’ve eaten at his “restaurants” were out of dire desperation i.e. at an airport and post-clubbing in Vegas. Oh  actually, I was very impressed by Mario Batali’s restaurant, despite my initial skepticism, so he’s spared from this category.

Ensemble Restaurant Vancouver Eggplant by Melody Fury

Sweet and sour eggplant $7.5

Still, there are others that rely on their pedigree to strive for celebrity status. While that’s all fine and dandy, please do not neglect your craft that brought you here in the first place. Don’t forget that at the end of the day, it’s not about filling seats with curious diners. The game is to keep your guests coming back and wanting more.

Ensemble Restaurant Vancouver Gnocchi by Melody Fury

7 potato gnocchi $10

So… if you want moderately attractive but rather bland food, tweezer-tiny portions and in turn, nonsensical prices…

if you crave obnoxious named cocktails like the New Fashion that are ironically prepared with little finesse…

Ensemble Restaurant Vancouver Sablefish by Melody Fury

Black Cod, as seen on TV $18

if you enjoy watching the celeb chef rub shoulders with select, star-struck guests while he disregards the rest…

or if you hanker for an overall sense of disappointment, simply visit your nearest Top Chef Canada contestant’s restaurant. You can even catch the show as it airs from their bar while you eat.

Ensemble Restaurant Vancouver Lamb by Melody Fury

Lamb $24

Be sure to plan ahead for your next stop because after dropping a stupid amount of cash, you can bet you’ll still be hungry. (My friends and I headed to a nearby cocktail bar to conclude our evening).

Why am I writing this? Partially because I’m disgruntled by this recent dining  experience but in actuality, I took such pretty photos that it’d be a shame not to post them somewhere.

That said, I do know better than to judge a restaurant upon its initial stages and I technically should give a place slack. I am not discrediting the hard work and dedication that restaurants and chefs put into their establishments. In fact, it’s greatly commendable and I’ll likely return for a second try at another opportunity. This is just my personal reaction to the meal and does not mean yours will be the same.

Regarding writing negative reviews:
I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Apparently, I also offend people when I only write about my positive experiences, so there you have it. Take it with a grain of salt.

What have your experiences at celebrity chef restaurants been like? I’d love to hear them all.

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  • Nigel

    Don’t knock Gordon Ramsay. He’s the real deal. Despite his celeb nonsense.  Watch Boiling Point, if you haven’t already.

  • Russ Co

    So…. Ensemble was a bust?

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    Which restaurant did you eat at? The one in Toyko was such a bore. It had 2 stars too back in the day. Not sure if I’m up to try another, at that price point.

    I’ve watched the show. It’s entertaining. Read his adulterous scandals if you haven’t.

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    Le sigh. Might not be when you try but that’s word on the street thus far.

  • Finn 644

    they play the show in the restaurant? tacky

  • http://www.dailyslif.com Daily Slif

    I knew what to expect – essentially why I’ve never been to Lumiere (or any Robuchon, Boulud type rooms). I still demand value for my money at any price point. Perhaps in 10 years when my appetite lessens, and both my palate and bank account grow…

    That being said – I’ve been saving up for Alinea for a few years now :-)

  • http://www.dailyslif.com Daily Slif

    Actually… barring the disparate element between value for the money — how was the food itself? Looking at what’s on the plate – seems like he was holding down a high 40~50% food cost

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    That was the kicker! Meanwhile, my friend had to turn away to avoid “spoilers” heh

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    That was the kicker! Meanwhile, my friend had to turn away to avoid “spoilers” heh

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    The most unfortunate thing in this whole ordeal is (as mentioned) the food was completely unmemorable. Nothing stood out flavour-wise. I mean a spot prawn is a spot prawn and black cod is black cod, you know? He did not go above and beyond to coax the ingredients to sing.

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    The most unfortunate thing in this whole ordeal is (as mentioned) the food was completely unmemorable. Nothing stood out flavour-wise. I mean a spot prawn is a spot prawn and black cod is black cod, you know? He did not go above and beyond to coax the ingredients to sing.

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    The most unfortunate thing in this whole ordeal is (as mentioned) the food was completely unmemorable. Nothing stood out flavour-wise. I mean a spot prawn is a spot prawn and black cod is black cod, you know? He did not go above and beyond to coax the ingredients to sing.

  • Anon

    Alinea is the real deal.

  • gracecheung604

    Thanks for the heads up. I was having lunch with Maurice and he mentioned your experience and his equally disappointing one. I canceled my resos there for last night. Thanks so much for saving my tummy and my hard earned money!

  • guest

    i love wolfgang puck’s CUT restaurant in vegas and l.a.  you are missing out!

  • http://www.dailyslif.com Daily Slif

    Ugh… that’s tragic. Funny thing is – watching Top Chef – the former-chef of the  Teahouse, Francois, seems to be out-cooking him at every turn!

  • chan yeon

    First of all, a blog is a blog.. you have the right to write what you want. But honestly, not ONE single positive note? your “thoughts” on dining at celebrity chef restaurants is pure amateur to judge. those are some world named chefs that have built a reputation on food alone, regardless of television shows and publicity they receive from doing or selling them selves to brand their names. 

    Dale Mackay is not a celebrity chef. If you knew much about the service industry, upon making reservations they note to meet the chef. Dale being a personable guy, he enjoys meeting and greeting his customers. He does not strut through the dining room as if he’s more than a person who just cooked your meal. He is not a celebrity chef. Just a chef who’s currently on a cooking competition that’s being aired on tv. If you look at any other past contestants from top chef (U.S) they are just old contestants, not celebrity chefs. So learn the fact that people request dale to come out and speak to them instead of assuming he’s strutting around and rubbing shoulders to those he chooses to.

    If your going to rail on the “obnoxious named cocktails” at least rail on the exact name instead of your made up one. the cocktail is named the in fashion. not the new fashion. the purpose behind the name in fashion, regards to the ensemble meaning of the attire, of composing your outfit together. to me and so many others, it’s whimsical in it’s own way. And the drink itself seems to be a hit so i’m not to worried about what you really say about the flavor of the drink itself, or how it’s prepared. it’s burbon-licious.

    the price ranges from 8-24$, depending on what you choose you can walk out of there eating 8 items for almost 100$ a head! risotto for 9.00 bucks!?! you cant get that anywhere else! and to say the food is bland, that’s ridiculous. having a chef who is constantly tasting his food before sending it out, and having a chef as high of a caliber as dale mackay, his food is far from being bland. 

    what’s the shame in showing top chef canada in the restaurant? if a customer asks to air the show, the show will be aired. but what’s the shame in it? it’s free advertising, it’s like walking into a house and finding an article of yourself posted on the fridge, it’s an accomplishment and we are proud of Dales accomplishments and see no shame in showcasing that.

    You and your blogger friends have no idea what get’s put into a days work as a chef or anyone in the service industry, or even how a day of operation in a restaurant works. it’s like a first time blogger, blogging about bloggers. but getting all the info wrong. ensemble has potential to be vancouvers little hang out, but the inaccurate words and attitude you choose to write about ensemble… get real! or do your homework first before you choose to write about something you have no idea about… learn the industry first before you can critique it.

  • Shea

    This post is a very poor decision on the part of this individual who seems to work for or represent the restaurant in some way and demonstrates 1. a complete lack of understanding of social media and 2. a seeming failure to understand the #1 premise in the service industry: the customer is always right. 

  • Chan yeon

    I am clearly a loyal friend of Dale Mackay and his employees, so I hate to see his name bashed into improper judgment. I know how hard him and his team works day in and day out. For any chefs, cooks, and servers would agree you bloggers don’t understand the first thing about service, the 14 hour days of prep and cooking. Just do your homework before you decide to rip someone or something apart. 1. Welcome to feedback, it’s part of social networking. 2. In this case the customer was beyond wrong. Just know the facts before you blog.

  • Shea

    I do not want to turn this into some sort of flame war, but thought I should clarify a few things.
     
    1. I am not the blogger, but rather a reader with his own independent mind, so responding to my comment as if I were the author of the article does not address the points I was making.
     
    2. With respect to my “understanding social media” comment. What I meant here is that social media is about customers sharing opinions and experiences. Bloggers are like ‘super customers’ insofar as they have great word of mouth power. Just as in life, it is important for a business (or anyone defending one – I hope you are not on their payroll) to understand who someone is and their perspective before attacking them. If you would not say something to someone’s face, then it is probably an ill advised comment on social media. If you would say your comments to the blogger’s face, then I’d imagine not many would like to converse with you. That’s the point of social media – communication.
     
    I also believe you made an assumption about this blogger’s experience and knowledge (a common amateur social media mistake, but a damaging one). You also make the classic mistake of lumping all bloggers together. There are bloggers who know more and write better than journalists. There are also bad bloggers, of course. The best bloggers are future journalists and ultimately have tremendous influence. It is simply stupid to attack them, particularly for a business to do so. It will only damage that business’ reputation and brand. Remember, insulting a blogger is the same as insulting that blogger’s loyal readers.
     
    3. With respect to my “the customer is always right” comment. Service businesses don’t get far by insulting customers, no matter what. Maybe the customer is not as informed as the chef about cooking (that’s pretty normal). I don’t see how that’s relevant to customer service. If a customer doesn’t like the food you don’t scream at them as an imbecile, you get their feedback and try to make them leave with at least a neutral impression so as not to spread bad word of mouth (deadly for businesses). They may not come back again, but at least they won’t hurt your businesses. Your loyal customers will hopefully pick up any slack. Of course, most businesses will lose even their loyal customers if they start attacking or insulting other customers.
     
    Think about it this way. Say you own a business and have an innovative idea that has some potential legal issues around it. You hire a lawyer and tell him or her your ideas and how you want them to help you. Now the lawyer who is more knowledgeable realizes that your questions misunderstand the law and the lawyer proceeds to tell you that your idea is so stupid that you’re an idiot and don’t know anything about the law and that you should go to law school and learn something before hiring them. I don’t think you’d retain that lawyer’s services for very long.
     
    I just write this because you seem connected to the business and I’d hate for your comments to do any (more) damage to them as it is hard enough to run a business without someone running across the internet damaging any good will towards it. I guarantee you have lost this restaurant customers with this (and other) ridiculous attempt at “revenge” or “feedback”. It clearly doesn’t satisfy you, it won’t change the fact that blogging is here to stay and an important part of media (and marketing), and, honestly, it makes you seem like someone to avoid rather than engage with.
     
    In fact, I was planning (and excited) to try this restaurant. This bad review actually would not have prevented me from going as I like to give new places a chance. But the comments you have made have turned me off and now I likely won’t go. That’s sad.

  • Shea

    I do not want to turn this into some sort of flame war, but thought I should clarify a few things.
     
    1. I am not the blogger, but rather a reader with his own independent mind, so responding to my comment as if I were the author of the article does not address the points I was making.
     
    2. With respect to my “understanding social media” comment. What I meant here is that social media is about customers sharing opinions and experiences. Bloggers are like ‘super customers’ insofar as they have great word of mouth power. Just as in life, it is important for a business (or anyone defending one – I hope you are not on their payroll) to understand who someone is and their perspective before attacking them. If you would not say something to someone’s face, then it is probably an ill advised comment on social media. If you would say your comments to the blogger’s face, then I’d imagine not many would like to converse with you. That’s the point of social media – communication.
     
    I also believe you made an assumption about this blogger’s experience and knowledge (a common amateur social media mistake, but a damaging one). You also make the classic mistake of lumping all bloggers together. There are bloggers who know more and write better than journalists. There are also bad bloggers, of course. The best bloggers are future journalists and ultimately have tremendous influence. It is simply stupid to attack them, particularly for a business to do so. It will only damage that business’ reputation and brand. Remember, insulting a blogger is the same as insulting that blogger’s loyal readers.
     
    3. With respect to my “the customer is always right” comment. Service businesses don’t get far by insulting customers, no matter what. Maybe the customer is not as informed as the chef about cooking (that’s pretty normal). I don’t see how that’s relevant to customer service. If a customer doesn’t like the food you don’t scream at them as an imbecile, you get their feedback and try to make them leave with at least a neutral impression so as not to spread bad word of mouth (deadly for businesses). They may not come back again, but at least they won’t hurt your businesses. Your loyal customers will hopefully pick up any slack. Of course, most businesses will lose even their loyal customers if they start attacking or insulting other customers.
     
    Think about it this way. Say you own a business and have an innovative idea that has some potential legal issues around it. You hire a lawyer and tell him or her your ideas and how you want them to help you. Now the lawyer who is more knowledgeable realizes that your questions misunderstand the law and the lawyer proceeds to tell you that your idea is so stupid that you’re an idiot and don’t know anything about the law and that you should go to law school and learn something before hiring them. I don’t think you’d retain that lawyer’s services for very long.
     
    I just write this because you seem connected to the business and I’d hate for your comments to do any (more) damage to them as it is hard enough to run a business without someone running across the internet damaging any good will towards it. I guarantee you have lost this restaurant customers with this (and other) ridiculous attempt at “revenge” or “feedback”. It clearly doesn’t satisfy you, it won’t change the fact that blogging is here to stay and an important part of media (and marketing), and, honestly, it makes you seem like someone to avoid rather than engage with.
     
    In fact, I was planning (and excited) to try this restaurant. This bad review actually would not have prevented me from going as I like to give new places a chance. But the comments you have made have turned me off and now I likely won’t go. That’s sad.

  • Murkin

    Snooze…. I see the point chan is making, the article seemed pretty hateful rather than criticism. Just sounds like terrible and wrong act of writing to me.

  • http://twitter.com/ginallama Gina Argentina

    I’m not a big fan of tiny portions and huge expensive restaurant bills, but that’s just me.

    When I think of a restaurant and what I want to spend, I would like to be full after I’m done eating. People really like this whole tiny portion/spending $$$ on barely a bite. I don’t understand or know why.

    A lot of Chefs/Restaurants are highly overrated. I can think of a few in the Vancouver core that I won’t name that I have been highly disappointed with. It’s too bad that people are seeing your post as a personal attack, while I am seeing it as your opinion on how you honestly feel. I for one, based on your post (and other things not related to this post) would probably never step foot inside Ensemble. 

  • Chan yeon

    I see the point Shea is making! Oh jeeez!

  • http://twitter.com/jareklee jareklee

    Agreed on all counts with Shea here. I had high hopes for Ensemble as I have heard good things about Chef Mackay’s cooking. Melody’s review had not dissuaded me from going, however Chan Yeon’s reply certainly has. 

    There are plenty of other food “bloggers” who may deserve (privately) the criticism of being ill-informed. Melody is definitely not one of them. That being said, while I may not understand the rigours of working in a kitchen, full-time, I do understand that in the food service industry, as the customer, I am to be served, not to be insulted when I do not enjoy the experience.

  • Harley Fresh

    I had the same experience. Major disappointment, on my birthday no less.

  • Tim S

    I’m glad you spared good ol’ Mario :)  It would have broken my heart. I’ve had some great meals-of-a-lifetime thanks to Keller, Gagnaire, Robuchon, Boulud and the like, but I’m hard pressed to say that I’ve ever had a better end-to-end experience than my first visit to Babbo. It was perfect. I remember every single dish years later. I even remember the music that was playing as we sat there in a post-meal food-and-wine-coma before leaving.

    I went to hear him talk at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle a few years back. His approach to food, his restaurants, his personality, and his Dad’s salumi will probably go down as 4 of the most inspirational things that led to my now advanced addiction to eating great food, making great food, great restaurants, and even following your blog, which is also great!
    And I have to say – brunch at Flay’s Mesa Grill in Vegas is tough to beat, especially for the price. The “bread” basket is like no other. And you have really got to try the chilaquiles with a side of mango glazed bacon. And a cactus pear margarita :)

  • Me LikeyUK

    I completely see where you are coming from. When Gordon Ramsay first came onto our screens – I was immensely proud( Being a fellow Scot and coming from the same town (Glasgow)) . Although I did not particularly like the way he treated people,I felt it was about time some Scottish talent emerged onto the cuisine scene. Fast forward to 2005 and we visited his new restaurant in Dubai (Verre) and it was clear cracks were starting to appear. The service was extremely slow, the restaurant staff were ill-informed re dishes and the food was at best mediocre.Gordon Ramsay’s empire was expanding at a very rapid rate with little attention to detail and service to match. In Christmas 2008, there was a Taste Festival in London laid on for all the local chefs to showcase their signature dishes. Gordon Ramsay had an exceptional “billing” as he had hired out a theatre with an audience to watch him cook his specialities.Sadly for the best part of his performance he spent hanging suspended in mid-air being followed by his chef de partie. Talk about losing touch with what made him famous in the first place! I see he has had to close some of his ventures at home and on the international scene and notice his name is associated with all sorts of brands. In my opinion he has lost his integrity and I for one am extremely disappointed as one of the best meals I have ever had was in his 3* restaurant in Royal Hospital Road, London about 8 years ago. I would really love for him to be humbled and to go back to what he is good at, I just fear it may be too late.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mantkowski Margaret Antkowski

    With small portions – sometimes we are paying for the artistry of the food presentation, and yes, the salary of the chef and his team.

    However, I tend to try out restaurants without really knowing much about the chef, who he is and what his schtick is all about. This way I’m focused on the food, service and ambiance of a specific location. This eliminates many visits to the restaurants with “celebrity chefs” who really don’t need my humble review anyways.

    I know your dilemma about negative reviews. Perhaps the best way to approach it is like a feedback model from Toastmasters – think of an Oreo cookie. Start with the good – a general overall impression, then look at the areas for improvement and offer suggestions – and then finish off on a positive summary.  It makes constructive feedback easier to swallow (no puns intended).

  • http://profiles.google.com/mantkowski Margaret Antkowski

    With small portions – sometimes we are paying for the artistry of the food presentation, and yes, the salary of the chef and his team.

    However, I tend to try out restaurants without really knowing much about the chef, who he is and what his schtick is all about. This way I’m focused on the food, service and ambiance of a specific location. This eliminates many visits to the restaurants with “celebrity chefs” who really don’t need my humble review anyways.

    I know your dilemma about negative reviews. Perhaps the best way to approach it is like a feedback model from Toastmasters – think of an Oreo cookie. Start with the good – a general overall impression, then look at the areas for improvement and offer suggestions – and then finish off on a positive summary.  It makes constructive feedback easier to swallow (no puns intended).

  • http://profiles.google.com/mantkowski Margaret Antkowski

    With small portions – sometimes we are paying for the artistry of the food presentation, and yes, the salary of the chef and his team.

    However, I tend to try out restaurants without really knowing much about the chef, who he is and what his schtick is all about. This way I’m focused on the food, service and ambiance of a specific location. This eliminates many visits to the restaurants with “celebrity chefs” who really don’t need my humble review anyways.

    I know your dilemma about negative reviews. Perhaps the best way to approach it is like a feedback model from Toastmasters – think of an Oreo cookie. Start with the good – a general overall impression, then look at the areas for improvement and offer suggestions – and then finish off on a positive summary.  It makes constructive feedback easier to swallow (no puns intended).

  • http://profiles.google.com/mantkowski Margaret Antkowski

    With small portions – sometimes we are paying for the artistry of the food presentation, and yes, the salary of the chef and his team.

    However, I tend to try out restaurants without really knowing much about the chef, who he is and what his schtick is all about. This way I’m focused on the food, service and ambiance of a specific location. This eliminates many visits to the restaurants with “celebrity chefs” who really don’t need my humble review anyways.

    I know your dilemma about negative reviews. Perhaps the best way to approach it is like a feedback model from Toastmasters – think of an Oreo cookie. Start with the good – a general overall impression, then look at the areas for improvement and offer suggestions – and then finish off on a positive summary.  It makes constructive feedback easier to swallow (no puns intended).

  • http://profiles.google.com/mantkowski Margaret Antkowski

    With small portions – sometimes we are paying for the artistry of the food presentation, and yes, the salary of the chef and his team.

    However, I tend to try out restaurants without really knowing much about the chef, who he is and what his schtick is all about. This way I’m focused on the food, service and ambiance of a specific location. This eliminates many visits to the restaurants with “celebrity chefs” who really don’t need my humble review anyways.

    I know your dilemma about negative reviews. Perhaps the best way to approach it is like a feedback model from Toastmasters – think of an Oreo cookie. Start with the good – a general overall impression, then look at the areas for improvement and offer suggestions – and then finish off on a positive summary.  It makes constructive feedback easier to swallow (no puns intended).

  • http://profiles.google.com/mantkowski Margaret Antkowski

    With small portions – sometimes we are paying for the artistry of the food presentation, and yes, the salary of the chef and his team.

    However, I tend to try out restaurants without really knowing much about the chef, who he is and what his schtick is all about. This way I’m focused on the food, service and ambiance of a specific location. This eliminates many visits to the restaurants with “celebrity chefs” who really don’t need my humble review anyways.

    I know your dilemma about negative reviews. Perhaps the best way to approach it is like a feedback model from Toastmasters – think of an Oreo cookie. Start with the good – a general overall impression, then look at the areas for improvement and offer suggestions – and then finish off on a positive summary.  It makes constructive feedback easier to swallow (no puns intended).

  • Nigel

    What can you do to make spot prawns sing? Spot prawns, unadorned, are one of life’s finer pleasures.  It’s a matter of not overcooking them, and you are good to go.

  • Nigel

    What can you do to make spot prawns sing? Spot prawns, unadorned, are one of life’s finer pleasures.  It’s a matter of not overcooking them, and you are good to go.

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    Completely agreed. I personally love them raw and fresh off the boat (http://www.gourmetfury.com/2010/05/spot-prawn-video/). I guess my point was it’s not hard to exemplify such awesome ingredients. That said, an element of surprise and novelty is always nice and appreciated.

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  • Nikki

    I had booked my husband and I in for our 2 year anniversary. The food was under seasoned and the service was horrible. We sat there with two empty drinks for 20 minutes and even then nothing was offered. We had to wave the waiter down and request them. The ginger cocktail however was very interesting and delicious.

  • the urban foodie

    I wish I had seen these threads a few weeks back. I posted a review on Dine Here about Ensemble and was excited that we were able to land a table on the opening weekend. All the expectations were there – a branded chef with mentors like Boulud and Ramsey, executive chef at a top line restaurant called Lumiere, the staff at Ensemble are formerly from Lumiere and DB Bistro,etc. Pedigree tells you instinctively that this place would be a winner. However, like Melody, I have to say that the experience was disappointing.

    Read my review on Dine Here (no I’m not endorsing the Dine Here site) but there’s something wrong when the prawns in the spot prawn cocktail comes out mushy! You can’t say spot prawns weren’t in season (it was the season for it when we went) and you’re a serious nut bar to use frozen and justify the price charged for 3 snot sized pieces of “shrimp” with a shredded romaine garnish.

    We knew we were in trouble that evening. The only saving grace was the soufflé – delicious (there Chan, a positive comment) but we can’t eat souffle for every course.

    Frankly, I don’t care if you’re a celebrity chef or not but in the service industry, you have to deliver if you’re going to have repeat business and can justify the prices you charge. You can lose a customer in seconds and spend months gaining new ones. A celebrity chef wanders the aisles of a restaurant. A great chef stays in the kitchen!

    Look I’m not trying to train wreck chef Dale but he needs to listen and take a bit of that chip off his shoulder and come down to earth. Yes, he stopped by to talk to us and no it didn’t seem like he appreciates any negative comments. It’s as though he wants to channel “I’m right, your wrong and even if I’m wrong so what.”

    As for value, way overpriced for what you get on your plate. When you compare his menu to the likes of Cafe Regalade and Les Faux Beourgois way better value and flavor bang for the buck. And no, I don’t work for these restaurants but their food has me captured as a loyal customer and my water glass is always full.

  • Clinton B.

    I’m really glad I ignored your review and had a great meal at Ensemble. Everything was executed perfectly, looked beautiful, and the space wasn’t overly pretentious or stuffy. The staff were helpful, quick on their feet, and very professional.

    The Lamb was unbelievable. Words cannot do it justice, just go and eat it

    Please everyone gather your own experiences at
    restaurants, don’t always take what the ‘pro’s’ say as the real deal.
    They can be wrong as well. We are definitely going to be back when it re-opens. Well done! Another great addition to Vancouver’s restaurant scene.

  • http://twitter.com/GoFishVancouver Go Fish!

    I dined at Ensemble and loved the food, My portions were perfect and the value excellent. Bill was about the same as Cactus Club. Food was much better. The service was very uneven and the room ugly but as for the food, I couldn’t disagree with Ms Furrie more