Vancouver’s Next Great Chefs: Jeremie Bastien, Boneta

He was born between services. After a bustling Valentine’s Day at his parents’ Laval restaurant, Le Mitoyen, his mother, Carole, who ran the floor, and his father, Richard, who was the chef, closed up shop, jumped in their car, and drove to the hospital. Baby Jeremie was born a few hours later. Bastien grew up in the restaurant kitchen, and remembers the first dish he prepared alongside his father: a duck confit sandwich, the meat carefully shredded by hand, piled on a fresh sourdough bun.  

In 2003, as a 22-year-old, he joined the team at Lumière under Rob Feenie. The kitchen was a nursery for talent—accolades and high standards drew ambitious young chefs; responsibility and long hard days tempered their skills. Bastien worked alongside Marc-André Choquette and J.C. Poirier, delving deeply into the Asian influences behind the menu. “We grew up with French cuisine,” he recalls, “so we forced ourselves to learn and experiment.”

When Boneta opened, in 2007, Bastien was just 25, one of the youngest executive chefs in Canada. Most classically trained chefs, when opening their first restaurant, take on fine dining. It’s only after they feel they’ve proven themselves that they turn their attention to more casual spaces and comfort food (and actually have some fun). Bastien thinks this is backward. “Boneta reflects who we are at this stage in our lives,” he says. It’s youthful, exuberant, unbuttoned. The fine touch and respect for ingredients that he learned from his father are apparent, but so is a carefree approach written in bold flavours. “I’ve always used a menu as a creative outlet, as a place to experiment,” he says. “Since Boneta opened, I haven’t opened a cookbook.”