by Andrew Morrison | In case you haven’t heard, Kitsilano’s long gone-but-not-forgotten FUEL Restaurant is making a one-night-only pop-up comeback at Campagnolo on September 28th. If you’re unfamiliar with it, Fuel was a short-lived fine dining restaurant at 1944 West 4th Avenue. It opened just before the financial meltdown hit, and so begat the more casual Refuel in 2009, which in turn closed, allowing for the arrival of Trevor Bird’s still popular Fable Kitchen in 2012. FUEL was something of a game-changer when it launched, dishing out elegant tasting menus in an irreverent environment dominated by a long open kitchen. I sometimes wonder if it weren’t for the unfortunate timing, would it still be open today? Anyway, this is an altogether awesome opportunity to go back in time for a taste of what was and what could have been. As the press release notes below, tickets go on sale September 1.
Critically acclaimed and beloved, FUEL Restaurant held its final dinner service on November 29, 2009. Chef Robert Belcham and his Campagnolo Restaurant business partners Tom Doughty and Tim Pittman will be honouring the restaurant that allowed them to spread their wings, with a homecoming dinner: FUEL Redux 2016. Reuniting with FUEL kitchen and service alumni on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, they will create a dining experience that pays tribute to the soul of FUEL with new inventive dishes that guests would expect to see had FUEL never closed.
FUEL was a part of a small but powerful wave of restaurants helmed by young innovative restaurateurs that changed Vancouver’s food and dining landscape. Robert Belcham was at the forefront of revitalizing whole animal butchery and charcuterie while pioneering the now common practice of sous-vide cooking. His open kitchen was intentionally located at the restaurant’s entrance, unheard of in a North American fine-dining restaurant, giving passersby and guests backstage access to cook culture: the breaking down of large animals into various tasty cuts of meat; the preparation and checking off of a chef’s mise en place list; ice cream created à la minute; family-style staff meals; and The Black Keys playing on heavy rotation. It was an exciting place to be during an exciting time in Vancouver’s culinary history.
Diners who long for one last opportunity to experience FUEL’s legendary nine-course Chef’s Tasting Menu can celebrate. The esteemed kitchen brigade—consisting of chefs Ted Anderson, Jane Cornborough, Geoff Hopgood, Adam Johnson, Marc-Alexandre Mercier, Alvin Pillay, Adam Vaughan, and Robert Belcham—has designed nine extravagant dishes that will emphasize individual creativity while honouring the collaborative process and philosophy of ‘flavour first’ that made FUEL so special.
“We are incredibly blessed to have worked with such talented people,” says Robert Belcham, Chef and Proprietor of Campagnolo Restaurants (previously of FUEL). “We want to reconnect with our friends and revisit a time-and-place that sparked something in all of us.”
The service team will be led by Tim Pittman and include, but is not limited to, industry veterans Eryn Dorman and Katharine Manson, while wine pairings will be selected by Tom Doughty and Peter Van de Reep.
FUEL Redux 2016 will be held at Campagnolo Restaurant (1020 Main St.) on September 28, with seating times at 5:30, 7:30 and 9:00pm. Dinner is priced at $150 per person before tax and gratuity. Wine pairings will be offered for an additional $100. Tickets are available to the public starting September 1, 2016 at noon and can be purchased in advance only at Campagnolo Restaurant with a $50 deposit. Each ticket will hold one seat at one of the staggered seating times and will be credited towards the final bill. Table sizes are limited to 2-6 people. Due to the uniqueness of this dinner, food restrictions and allergies will not be accommodated.