Lifetime Achievement: Jack Evrensel

When Araxi opened, in 1981, it got good reviews-sort of. “A good restaurant, for Whistler.” Same with CinCin in 1990: “good, for Vancouver.” By the time Jack Evrensel opened West and Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, both in 2000, reviewers had dropped the qualifiers. Evrensel wins the Lifetime Achievement Award because, in a business that can turn proprietors into paupers, he’s set the standard by which our rooms are judged. His four distinctive restaurants nonetheless have much in common: they’re beautifully imagined, carefully made, and fully realized. What accounts for his success? Staff mention his laser focus, demanding standards, and hard work. An ardent basketball fan, he says he learned most about leadership from the legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, whose “Pyramid of Success” he gives to his managers. What’s next? In May, with CinCin’s pastry chef, Thierry Busset, he’s opening a patisserie on Alberni Street. A good patisserie, for Vancouver? Expect a good deal more.


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