Alain Rayé – Lifetime Achievement Award 2013

The chef/proprietor of West Van’s La Régalade was born in 1951 just outside Paris, apprenticing as a cook at age 14 after his father died and his mother gave the unhappy teenager an ultimatum: school or work. Five years later, after a difficult love affair, he wound up in Vancouver and worked at the Panorama Roof at the Hotel Vancouver. In 1975 he returned to France-“There was nothing in Vancouver, not like today”-and by the late 1980s, when we first met, he was an ambitious, handsome, dedicated proponent of haute cuisine with his Michelin-starred Restaurant Alain Rayé off the Champs-Élysée. He knew all the top Paris chefs like Jöel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse, but he was inspired by Yves Camdeborde who invented bistro moderne. Rayé’s own La Régalade, which opened here in 2001, follows the deeply satisfying combo of classic technique and rustic recipes. His passion lives on in his sons: Steeve owns Café Régalade and Kevin, with Rayé’s ex-wife Brigitte, has just opened La Cigale, both in Kits. “I am a man of the kitchen. What else would I do?”