Posts Tagged ‘Opus Hotel Vancouver’

Interview with Peter Girges

Restaurateur | Vancouver

I sat down with Peter recently in his Cento Notti Restaurant in Yaletown and talked about his restaurants and his love for people and socializing. Peter grew up in Toronto working in his father’s restaurant, when he was 11 years old he used to peel potatoes in the kitchen after school, he then worked in the restaurant for a few years learning the ropes. At 19 he opened his first restaurant with his uncle called Brownstone, he then opened Solo. He came to Vancouver about 10 years ago and was co-owner of Glowbal Group and a couple of years ago he went out on his own and started Rocksglass where he is co-owner and President and now operates Cento Notti, Opus Bar, Chinois Restaurant and Pierre’s Lounge all in Yaletown.

As a kid growing up, what did you want to be?

A firefighter, I even had a firefighter hat when I was a kid. I then thought of becoming a lawyer.

What drives you to succeed with your different restaurants?

Trying to be different but not outside of the circle. Delivering the best experience people would come back for (ambience, service and food).

Would you identify with being an entrepreneur or restaurateur foremost?

I’ll say I am a bit more of an entrepreneur, as I have an entrepenurial spirit and have the ability to do something and see the tangible results and be responsible for it neither good or bad.

What are the most challenging elements of running restaurants?

So many moving parts in a restaurant from filling up a room, to consistency, the way your staff feels, so many variables that effect the experience than anything out there. Managing situations constantly and consistency.

Currently all your restaurant interests are in Yaletown, why Yaletown?

Since moving from Toronto I lived in Yaletown and I like this neighborhood and I have seen this neighborhood go up and down in the almost 10 years I have lived in Vancouver. Every single element style of the city ends up in Yaletown. Recognizable for out of towners as well.

What do you like to do in your off time outside of business?

  • Wine and dine
  • Being with friends
  • Watching hockey, soccer, golf etc
  • Bike riding
  • Cooking for friends

I understand that you support kids in our community, tell us how you got involved with the charity you are currently supporting and what you are doing to enhance their lives?

Sarah Blyth is a good friend of mine and I asked her one day what I can do (an article I saw talked about the under privileged kids in Vancouver being the highest in Canada). As a business owner you do have a sense of responsibility. It started with a Christmas drive at the Strathcona Community Centre, finding out that hundreds of kids go home every night with nothing to eat, so we feed them a few times a week. It is great to do stuff at Christmas but people need to eat all year round. The Strathcona Community Centre has an amazing group of volunteers working with these kids doing great things.

What is your favourite dish in one of your own restaurants? And in which restaurant?

Spaghetti Bolognese at Cento Notti

What do you like to eat when eating outside of your own restaurants?

Italian and also local fresh seafood

What are your Favourite restaurants outside of your own?

Cioppino’s Restaurant in Yaletown for special occasions

Blue Water Cafe in Yaletown for sushi

I tryout a different restaurant every Sunday.

Which cities around the world provide you with culinary inspiration for your restaurants when you travel?

New York is the mecca of dining in the world followed by my home town of Toronto.

Where do you get your creative inspiration?

  • Travelling
  • People and what their needs are, giving people an experience they will remember.

What is your drink of choice?

Daytime – Margarita with good Tequila

Before Dinner – Champagne is a must

Dinner: red or white wine

Night time Cocktail – Old Fashioned with Buffalo Trace Bourbon

If you weren’t in the restaurant industry, what industry would you be in?

Movie business

Who are your mentors?

My father – who was in the restaurant biz, he passed away a few years ago.

What is the secret for a business to succeed?

What-ever effort you put into is what you get out.

What is on the horizon for you and your restaurants in the near future?

Grow organically and manage what I have, the best I can and see. I am always ready for the next opportunity. Change is good and I always hope they further their career.

By: Richard Wolak

Brunch with Mark Leiren-Young at Cento Notti

Brunch is a favourite past time shared by many and should be an extraordinary experience, one that you will cherish. Vancouver has some wonderful places for brunch. Each of the places I visit is unique for what is offered along with the type of service and selection of dishes. I am on a journey around the city to find these extraordinary places and, at the same time, I will be joined by a notable personality who may be a Film Producer or Director, Musician, Arts Festival Director, Actor or other well-known individual for Brunch at restaurants in and around Vancouver.

For my twenty fourth brunch in this series, I was joined by Author, Filmmaker & Satirist Mark Leiren-Young at Cento Notti Restaurant in Vancouver talking about Film, Comedy, Writing and more!

Mark Leiren-Young

Mark was born in Vancouver and received a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in Theatre and Creative Writing from the University of Victoria. Mark’s stage plays have been produced in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia and have been translated into French and Danish. As a playwright he’s best known for controversial adult dramas (like Shylock and Articles of Faith), controversial teen dramas (Basically Good Kids, Jim) and occasionally controversial political satires (including work with his comedy troupe, Local Anxiety). As a journalist Mark has written for such publications as Time Magazine, The Utne Reader and the Hollywood Reporter. He has also written for most major Canadian newspapers and magazines. Mark currently writes a regular satirical column for one of Canada’s top online publications, The Tyee. Mark made his TV debut in 1995 after an employee of Mainframe saw one of his political cabarets and invited him to write for ReBoot. His first TV script was ReBoot’s X-Files parody (starring Gillian Anderson as Data Nully) that was noted in Entertainment Weekly. Since then Mark has written almost all types of TV including drama, comedy, documentary, animation and variety. He has also written several commissioned screenplays and wrote, directed and produced the award winning feature film, The Green Chain. He was the winner of the 2009 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for his comic memoir, Never Shoot a Stampede Queen. Mark splits his time between Vancouver and Haiku.

How did you become a Filmmaker?

A million years ago I wrote a radio drama called Dim Sum Diaires for John Juliani made up of five interconnected monologues and we always wanted to follow it up with a series about trees, the issue I thought defined BC. We could never make it happen. Then, when John passed away, I wrote the script for him, gave it to his wife Donna Wong-Juliani and said, “no one will ever do this because no one in the world is as crazy as John.” She said, “I am.” And she told me we were making a movie that I was directing. I premiered the film in Montreal and it went on to play Toronto, Victoria, Calgary and Vancouver. It was also featured in Barcelona and played other film festivals including it’s US debut at an environmental film fest in Cleveland.

How did the films –The Green Chain – Nothing is Ever Clear Cut and This Crazy Time – come about?

After The Green Chain I talked David Beers into doing a podcast series for the Tyee about trees. Loggers love trees, ….. I did roughly 30 podcasts all collective for The Green Chain and Tyee. One podcast was with Tzeporah Berman (the Green Chain – subtitle of book is Nothing is ever Clear Cut).

How did you end up doing an environmental film, when you had previously been doing comedic work?

A lot of my comedic work was about the environment.

Greenpieces in 1999 was a tv comedy show – there is lots of “green” in what I have done.

Which do you prefer doing full length films or stage plays?

No preference. I would prefer to have radio drama if that was still around but it is no more at CBC.

What is the attraction of doing a 1 person show?

I never intended to be the person in the 1 person shows. I travel a lot and can’t always have someone with me. It has been exciting and terrifying.

Is there any difference for you directing a TV series vs a film?

I haven’t directed tv series, I have done a feature film and stage. I loved directing the Green Chain feature film (we had only 7 shooting days for the whole film).

Are there any film makers who have influenced your career? If so who?

I never thought movies or tv were plausible here and the notion was they would have to be done in LA.

What is your favourite Food?

Seared Ahi

What is your favourite restaurant inside and outside Vancouver?

  • Topanga Café in Vancouver
  • Pagliacci’s in Victoria
  • Colleens in Haiku, Hawaii

Steak & Eggs

Gelderman Farms Blueberry Pancakes

Hash Browns

Raspberry Sorbet

Mark had the Steak & Eggs  and an Orange Juice. Richard had the Gelderman Farms Blueberry Pancakes along with an order of Hash Browns. Mark and Richard both had Raspberry Sorbet to end the meal.

How far in advance do you plan your Films?

Writing one now, based on a story that I thought about in 1984, funded by Telefilm to develop a script.

How do you decide what your next film is going to be?

1)    What story I want to tell

2)    What story I had to tell in a financial range.

Where was your most recent trip?

To Haiku, Maui

What is it like to spend lengthy periods of time in Hawaii?

Fantastic, I get tons of writing done there.

What is it like to write and direct a film?

Huge fun to direct, definitely one of the coolest things I have ever done. I got to work with amazing actors, an astonishing cast. I wrote the first one with no intention of it being a film. Now I am writing for me to direct and its exciting.

What are you working on currently?

1)    New screenplay for the film

2)    Big feature article for Walrus magazine on Kalle Lasn (founder of the Occupy Movement)

3)    Stage musical for The Arts Club Theatre

4)    Prep for my solo show

Is there anything you want to do, that you haven’t done already?

Lots and lots – more movies, plays, pretty much more of everything.

Are you interested in doing any more plays?

Yes, I want to do a 2 person play for 2 favourite Vancouver actors.

April 2013 – will be doing a solo show in Kamloops, starring Ryan Beil as me. It’s an adaptation of Stampede Queen.

Who are your Mentors?

John Juliani

Who inspires you now?

Neil Gaiman

Aaron Sorkin

How did you find your agents?

The book agent came through the tv agent, the theater agent came by my telling him to open his own agency so I can be his client; and the tv agent I searched for. I have had 5 agents for many years.

Was post production everything you thought it would be?

Biggest surprises and more so than I ever thought.

Why aren’t you doing any theatrical work in the USA?

Specifically want to work in Canada – it would be an awful lot of paperwork to do a show there.

Anything happening currently Internationally?

Shylock was done in the USA (New Orleans), one kids play is currently being done in the UK.

Did you ever think you would get into any of this stuff growing up?

I wanted to be a writer while I was growing up.

Style: A La Carte

Attire: Casual

Time: Saturday & Sunday 10:00am – 3pm

Cento Notti

322 Davie Street, Vancouver

Menu:  http://vancouver.opushotel.com/taste/cento-notti-menus-cocktails-en.html

For Reservations call 604-642-6787

Stay tuned to my next guest Interview along with the next Brunch in and around Vancouver.

By: Richard Wolak

CENTO NOTTI

UPDATED 11/21/12 BUSINESS HAS CLOSED

350 Davie Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604 642 0557

Web: http://centonotti.com/

Twitter: @CentoNotti

Advice: Take a long a friend and share some dishes.

Burrata

This Italian themed restaurant is the latest pop-up at the Opus which is all done up in gold. Italian influenced pop-art is served up with comfort food that they call Twisted Italian. My friend Joe Leary joined me for dinner last week and we began our meal by sharing the house made Burrata ($13) hannahbrook greens, okanagan quince and house pickles.

Seared Qualicum bay Scallops

We were then each served a delicious amuse of Seared Qualicum bay scallops, lobster ravioli, house smoked bacon, carrot butter.

Platter with Three Cheese Garlic Bread ,Spaghetti Bolognese, Lobster Agnolotti, Steamed Asparagus, Roasted Seasonal Vegetables

Then as we were about to share our entrees a massive platter arrived to our table that was filled with the Three Cheese Garlic Bread ($8) along with the delicious Spaghetti Bolognese ($16), Lobster Agnolotti ($27), roasted lobster bisque, pea shoots; Steamed Asparagus ($8) and Roasted Seasonal Vegetables ($8).

Platter with frozen Tiramisu and Lemon Tart

For dessert another platter arrived with the outstanding Frozen Tiramisu ($8) and the refreshing Lemon Tart($8). Loved the room from the golden walls to the gold sparkling ceiling, its an elegant atmosphere with attentive service!

Review By: Richard Wolak

The Ride to Conquer Cancer May 2 at Elixir

Fundraising Brunch at Elixir

Conquering Cancer One Mile at a Time

Elixir Bistro Executive Chef Don Letendre has once again embarked on a history-making opportunity to make an epic crusade against cancer. On June 19 and 20, 2010, Letendre will cycle for two days from Vancouver to Seattle in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, which brings together athletes, cycling enthusiasts, and anyone looking for an extreme challenge and a great cause.

On Sunday May 2, Elixir Bistro at OPUS Hotel Vancouver hosts a fundraiser brunch and silent auction, benefitting Team Merckx. Letendre is honoured to once again join this team, which was started by former pro cyclist and Tour de France participant Axel Merckx and wife Jody Merckx of Kelowna. The goal of Team Merckx is to raise $100,000.00 for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Proceeds from the brunch will go toward the team’s ambitious target. For more information, or to make a donation visit: www.conquercancer.ca

In the spirit of the cycling event, Executive Chef Don Letendre has partnered up with Team Merckx captain Olivier Lebeau to develop a custom menu featuring specialty items including: The After Burn (scallion and bacon waffle, poached eggs, grilled asparagus tomato jam and sauce béarnaise) and Licking the Front Tire (Pavlova, lemon curd and fresh berries). The three-course set brunch will be served on Sunday, May 2 from 10:00am – 3:30pm at $40.00 per person. $30.00 will cover the cost of food and $10.00 will go directly to the cause. There is also a children’s menu available for $30.00.

For more information or to make a reservation call 604.642.0557.

Opus Hotel Brims with Olympic Spirit

Figure skater, hockey player or snowboarder? OPUS Bar’s innovative, hand-crafted cocktail menu allows guests to choose a cocktail to match their room or alter-ego, one of the five fictional muses behind the hotel’s décor schemes. The names of the lifestyle cocktails and O-Bites were inspired by the sports that these characters will watch during the Olympic Winter Games.

New York celebrity mixologist Charlotte Voisey, Ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin, was a special guest mixologist at the OPUS’ 7 Year Anniversary party in November 2009 and created this feature cocktail menu with OPUS’s five lifestyle characters in mind. While snowboarding fan Billy will sip a twist on a dark and stormy, alpine skiing enthusiast Mike will linger over a whiskey smash.

O-Bites, a selection of global plates named for the lifestyle characters and their sports, round out the Olympic-inspired tastes. Guests will dive into dishes such as Carving Karage (chicken karage), Buffalo Bobsleigh (miso marinated buffalo sate) and Sockeye Slalom (salmon tempura roll) while soaking up the vibrant, energy-fueled atmosphere. www.opusbar.ca/menus/obites

To complement its five lifestyle-inspired guestroom décor schemes, OPUS offers guests a choice of five virtual guides to the city. The Lifestyle Concierge offers interactive online personality profiling so that guests may discover which personality best suits their lifestyle. For guests wanting to know the hottest happening during the Vancouver Winter Games, OPUS Hotel has launched a special edition of their Lifestyle Concierge online city guide featuring the best of the cultural Olympiad, Olympic attractions and the hottest restaurants and bars, as chosen by the five OPUS’ muses. www.opushotel.com/services_concierge

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