The Goods from St. Lawrence
Vancouver, BC | Today, Vancouver chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Jean-Christophe (J-C) Poirier announced a suite of operational changes to be implemented at St. Lawrence in the new year, aimed at improving employment conditions for staff and creating an even better dining experience for guests.
“As the holiday season approaches, it has me thinking about what’s most important,” said Poirier. “Success is not about gain, it’s about giving back to people, especially to the staff who have been loyal to me. Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities to live in the world; these changes will help make living here a little more comfortable.”
To ensure an exceptional dinner service for both guests and employees, the changes — which take effect in January — will include an enhanced seven-course menu, scaled-down numbers of guests each evening, and additional staff in both front and back-of-house. St. Lawrence will be open five days per week, Tuesday to Saturday, to better match employees’ family schedules (instead of Tuesday to Sunday). Back-of-house employees — who work longer shifts than front-of-house staff — will clock four-day workweeks, and enhanced health benefits for employees will include extended coverage for mental health treatments, as well as company-matched contributions to employee RRSPs. St. Lawrence will also donate a portion of proceeds from each reservation to a designated Vancouver Downtown Eastside charity each quarter. To help fund the changes, the price of the restaurant’s monthly seven-course menu will increase from $89 plus tax to $125 plus tax and gratuity, still exceptional value for a Michelin-starred restaurant.
“I love this industry deeply but the hours are long and there’s little time for family. Burnout is common; that’s a challenge for employees and owners,” said Poirier. “We’ve had an incredible run and we’re now in the fortunate position to do all this.” In October, St. Lawrence was awarded a Michelin star in the inaugural Michelin Guide Vancouver, as well as Restaurant of the Year at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, with the judges calling it “a marvel of a restaurant,” as well as Gold for Best Upscale and Silver for Best French, in addition to ‘Top 3’ Placement in Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants and inclusion on the World’s 50 Best Discovery List earlier this year.
CABANE À SUCRE – RESERVATIONS AVAILABLE DECEMBER 9
The changes will be in effect for the most popular menu of the year, the seven-course Cabane à Sucre menu. First launched in 2020, the perennially sold-out dinner series allows Poirier to pay tribute to his Québécois heritage and the annual trek by local families to the province’s sugar maple forests to enjoy rustic, homespun habitant meals at the “Sugar Shacks” (Cabanes à Sucre), where sap is boiled and turned into the nation’s prized syrup. At St. Lawrence, it’s an elevated version of a Sugar Shack menu, with favourites like Soupe aux Pois, Venison Tourtière, and Maple Tart, as well as some new delights.
The first seating of the 2023 Cabane à Sucre takes place January 18 — after St. Lawrence’s winter closure from January 1-17 — and the menu runs until the end of March. The complete Cabane à Sucre experience is $125 per person plus tax and gratuity, with reservations for all seatings in January and February 2023 on sale December 9. Sign up for the St. Lawrence newsletter here to be first to know when they’re released.
WHERE THE RIVER NARROWS AND MORE HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS
Holiday shopping season is in full swing, and St. Lawrence has gifts for the food-lovers on every gift list. Poirier’s first cookbook, Where the River Narrows, $45, is available in bookstores and online. With more than 125 beautifully photographed recipes, it’s an honest reflection of who he is as a person and his career as a cook. It’s about Québec, about old-school classic French cooking, but also about the nostalgic memories of home. It includes classic dishes like Tourtière, Pot-au-Feu, and Tarte au Sucre, along with bistro favourites like Steak with Peppercorn Cream Sauce and Chocolate Mousse. Devoted St. Lawrence fans will find signature dishes like Pâté en Croûte, Coquilles St-Jacques à la Parisienne, and Tarte au Citron Flambée au Pastis. It makes a wonderful gift under any tree, especially when paired with a St. Lawrence gift card to enjoy the dishes in person at the restaurant.