Brunch: Jay Brazeau at Fraiche

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 ninth brunch in this series, I was joined by Actor Jay Brazeau at Fraiche Restaurant in West Vancouver talking acting, life and more!

Jay Brazeau

Jay Brazeau is an actor, director, and writer who has been in over 215 roles in his career thus far. Last year I saw him in the film “Fathers and Sons” , he recently joined me for the Brunch at Fraiche in West Vancouver on a beautiful sunny day, we sat at the corner window with a spectacular view of the whole city.

Jay grew up in Winnipeg, went to Toronto he wanted to become a comedian, he ended up performing at Yuk Yuks and was on the same bill as Howie Mandel and Jim Carey. He then returned to Winnipeg and did animation, then decided to give Vancouver a try and came out West. He knew no one, but got involved with the Vancouver Theatre Sports league. After doing improv with Vancouver Theatre Sports this opened him up to not saying no and going forth in acting.

When did you begin your acting career?

I was 19 years old and I walked into a theatre workshop and asked to be an actor. I was then thrown into “Wacky this Fuddlejake “. Always ended up hanging out, you have to hang out to get the parts. My father took me to movies in Winnipeg, and I loved it. I was then cast in 3 plays – 1) Cyrano 2) Christmas Carol and 3) Creeps

What was your favourite role you ever played in a film?

“Father and Sons ” there was no dialogue, they only mapped out a light story to give guidance.

What were your most recent films?

  • “Living in a Car “
  • “Brothers and Sisters “
  • “Duke “

What was your favourite role you ever performed in a play thus far?

  • “Cyrano ” in Pittsburgh
  • “Drowsy Chaperone ” in Vancouver – originators felt really great about our production.

Did you always want to be an Actor?

No I wanted to be a cartoonist as a kid, doodled like crazy, always wanted to express myself in an artistic way.

Do you ever get nervous?

I get nervous when having to talk in front of an audience as myself, I love to play other roles.

What do you do in your spare time?

  • Used to collect ugly lamps, going to garage sales to find the lamps.
  • Playing scrabble with my neighbor Alex
  • Writing
  • Watching “Breaking Bad ” tv series

Chestnut Chorizo Soup

Traditional Eggs Benedict

Vegetable Omelet with wild mushrooms

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Jay and Richard both had the Chestnut Chorizo Soup ($9), then Jay had the Traditional Eggs Benedict ($16) and Richard had the Vegetable Omelet with wild mushrooms ($15). For dessert, Jay and Richard both had the Sticky Toffee Pudding ($9) with vanilla ice cream.

What is your favourite food?

  • Eggs Benedict
  • Rice Pudding

What are your favourite restaurants in Vancouver?

  • Paros in Burquitlam (Greek –off North Road –owned by Alex – my neighbor)
  • Bons off Broadway
  • Brazza in North Van for coffee

Have you acted in the theatre production of “Hairspray” more than once?

I did the original musical production of it in New York. You are probably wondering how this happened, I came out to New York for the audition and spent the day in New York, then they called me back to audition again. I got the part and then was part of the Broadway production in New York. Then in 2010, I played the same role in the Stanley Theatre production in Vancouver.

What was it like to star in the trilogy of Carl Bessai films where your role was unscripted?

I was only in the last two “Fathers & Sons” and “Brothers & Sisters ” –Before the film I was able to combine film and theatre experience, it was a life changing experience for me.

Is there a role you wanted to play that you didn’t get after auditioning? If so, what was the role and in which play or film?

“Death of a Salesman ” 17 years ago when I had one son, I want to revisit this play again now that I have two sons.

How does a Canadian Actor make it in the film industry?

  1. If you are young you move to the USA
  2. If you are old you find a project that you can do here, then move to the USA, then come back to Canada
  3. You seek out Directors like Carl Bessai or Mina Shum

How many productions (films or theatrical) will you act this year?

  • “Old Love ” as Director
  • “Bah Humbug! ” as Actor
  • “Cat Came Back ” with Fred Penner –theatrical production

How did you get casted in the 21 Jump Street tv series?

It was a Steven Cannel production and they hired local actors for many of the film parts, it was very interesting doing this show.

Do you have any memorable films?

“Were No Angels” with Robert Deniro, Sean Penn and Demi Moore – I learned so much on that show. I was originally scheduled for 26 days and in the end it become 46 days.

Is there a Director you want to work with?

  • Clint Eastwood
  • Larry David
  • Abneszia Holland
  • Ann Wheeler

How many agents do you have?

I have one agent in Toronto for Films & Commercials and two agents in Vancouver, one for Film & Theatre and the other for Commercials.

Tell me about your current production “Old Love”

I am currently directing “Old Love” about middle aged people in their 50s, the play stars my wife and Vince Metcalfe and it is being performed at Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver.

What is next for you?

I have a play in the works “Fortune and Son” (4 generations of fathers and sons)

What would you like to do in the future?

  • I would like to work with my son on a project.
  • Would like to do a small film
  • Would like to do a murder mystery
  • Find a summer to work with Christopher Gaze in “Bard on the Beach”
  • I want to direct a Musical
  • I want to work with Electric Company
  • I dream to work with Len Carey again

What would you tell a want to be actor?

Always know your audience.


Style: a La Carte

Attire: Smart Casual

Time: Sunday 10am – 3:00pm

Fraiche Restaurant

2240 Chippendale Road, West Vancouver


For Reservations, please call 604- 925-7595

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

By: Richard Wolak

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