Name: Emmanuel Joinville
Title: Owner and chef at Jules French Bistro
Organization/Business: Jules Bistro
What do you do and how did you get here?
I am the head chef and owner of Jules Bistro on Abbott Street and we have been here for 11 years. I began my career in 1981 in Dijon and opened my own restaurant in 1984, later selling it in 1996 and then moving to Paris. I opened a new restaurant and worked there for three years, eventually moving to Vancouver in 2000. Before Gastown, I established a small soup & sandwich franchise in the city, soon realizing it wasn’t for me. I am a chef at heart and that’s where my passion lies.
How I ended up here was influenced by the fact that Gastown was the only place that I could afford. Of course that was 11 years ago and things have certainly changed! The place was empty and the building was for sale. We secured a good deal and this has been our home ever since.
What inspired the name and concept?
Jules is my son’s name. I also have a daughter named Joy and I had to reluctantly say to her one day: “I’m sorry but for a French bistro, the name Joy just isn’t going to work”.
If you had 15 minutes only, in Gastown, how would you spend it?
Oh my God! Only 15 minutes? Where would I go?! I really like Sitar Restaurant. I have my table in the corner where I like to sit alone quietly with a bottle of wine, reading my book with no one to bother me.
What do you love about the neighbourhood?
I love that it’s working. I’m busy with plenty of guests so I really can’t complain. I live in Gastown and all I can say is ‘Where else!?’. When I look around the city and contemplate running my business in another location, there is nowhere else I’d rather be than in Gastown. It’s a place with real character and soul. We have managed, for the most part, to stay away from the corporate invasion. I love that there are still lots of small independent businesses here with people working hard and taking pride in what they do.
What’s your most memorable happy moment or experience in Gastown?
It would be my wedding day. We celebrated our special day here in the bistro in February 2015. It was really fun. My wife is Thai and the marriage of two very different cultures along with the sharing of customs, traditions and cuisine was quite memorable.
What’s your philosophy for a good life?
Knowing when enough is enough. Stay away from greed. It’s bad for your health.