France knights Provence Marinaside chef Jean-Francis Quaglia of Vancouver for culinary contributions

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      A Vancouver restaurateur and chef has received one of France’s highest honours in the culinary arts.

      Representing the French government, France’s Consul General in Vancouver, Philippe Sutter, appointed Provence Marinaside owner and executive chef Jean-Francis Quaglia as a Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre du Mérite agricole on August 18. 

      The order, which dates back to its establishment in 1883 and is only surpassed in importance by the Legion of Honour, “recognizes people who have made a significant contribution to the field of French food and France's culinary culture”, according to a news release. The order’s members include restaurateurs (in France and abroad), vintners, food scientists, and food historians.

      Quaglia joins three other members of the order from B.C.: restaurateurs Michel Jacob of Le Crocodile (2020) and John Blakely of the former Bistro Pastis (2009), and wine expert Sid Cross (1980s). This honour entitles Quaglia to wear the medal or a distinctive lapel ribbon on all formal occasions.

      Vancouver restaurateurs John Blakely, chef Jean-Francis Quaglia, and chef Michel Jacob are now all Chevaliers of the Ordre du Mérite agricole.
      Nancy Wong

      Sutter explained that Quaglia, who hails from Marseille, France, is recognized as a "culinary giant who is an incredible ambassador for French cuisine and mentor to young chefs", has supported French culinary initiatives such as Goût de France (Good France), and integrates B.C. ingredients into traditional French dishes.

      One of Quaglia’s culinary influences was one of France’s first female professional chefs: his own mother, who was a chef at Marseille’s Le Patalain.

      “My mother, chef Suzanne Quaglia, inspired me to become the chef I am today along with other mentors such as chef Dominic Le Stanc at the Hotel Negresco in Nice and chef Bruno Born here in Vancouver,” Quaglia stated in his acceptance speech.

      In 1992, Quaglia moved to Canada with Canadian chef Alessandra Mossa, whom he married, and began his culinary career in this country at Le Coq D’Or in Kitsilano in 1994, and continued on at Azure Seafood Restaurant and Indigo Bistro Moderne at the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel before launching Provence Mediterranean Grill in Point Grey in 1997.

      He later opened Provence Marinaside in Yaletown in 2007, and co-authored New World Provence—Modern French Cooking for Friends and Family with Alessandra. In 2012, Quaglia launched TWB the Wine Bar next to Provence Marinaside, and in 2016, he sold Provence Mediterranean Grill to a former employee.

      Provence Marinaside also donates meals and funds to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, and has adapted to various required health measures during the pandemic.