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Massive change coming to one of Vancouver's legendary restaurants

After 40 years, the chef-owner is passing the torch to someone new - but also very familiar

After 40 years, there is something big on the horizon for one of Vancouver's legendary fine dining restaurants.

Le Crocodile, opened in 1983 by Chef Michel Jacob, is changing hands this spring, and will be run by a culinary legend in his own right, Chef Rob Feenie. The white tablecloth French restaurant is known for its elegant setting and refined French fare with a West Coast sensibility. 

The restaurant has been located at 909 Burrard St (at Smithe) for the bulk of its tenure, though it began in a smaller downtown space initially, at Thurlow and Robson, before moving to its present space in 1992.

Jacob announced his retirement and the news of Feenie taking the reins on Thursday (Feb. 8). 

“It is time for a well-deserved retirement,” said Jacob in a media release.

Jacob will wind up his remarkable tenure on April 30, when Le Crocodile will briefly close before re-opening in May as Le Crocodile by Rob Feenie.

A native of Strasbourg, France, Jacob came to Vancouver and opened what would become one of the city's most beloved French fine dining spots - named for the Michelin-starred Au Crocodile in his hometown. 

Among the talent Jacob had on his team in the restaurant's earlier years was a young Feenie, who worked there from 1992 to 1995. 

“I got my start at le Crocodile as a sous chef, working alongside Michel, who I long consider my mentor, dear friend, and family,” said Feenie via press release.

Feenie's myriad accomplishments over his career brought him to the global culinary spotlight at a most fortuitous time, as the era of the "celebrity chef" dawned and the Food Network kicked off an ongoing craze for all things food media. 

Most recently, Feenie has continued to make appearances on TV as a food judge and consulted on several high-profile ventures in Metro Vancouver, including at the award-winning Bacchus restaurant. Of course, many know Feenie as the chef who put his name on the Cactus Club menu, serving as their in-house culinary lead for many years. 

As for Jacob, the renowned chef is confident the future is bright for the restaurant he lovingly created and cared for over the last four decades.

"I know the next chapter of Le Crocodile will be just as incredible," shared Jacob. "I feel extremely grateful and content for the career I’ve enjoyed. Thank you to my
staff, customers, and all those who have believed in Le Crocodile since day one.”

Note: An earlier version of this article indicated the restaurant had been at the same address since its opening. That information has been amended.

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