Up Close With Michael Charpentier

Current job: I am the Restaurant Chef at Gray’s Restaurant, inside the Vancouver Hilton.

Proudest professional moment: My proudest moments are seeing people I trained and worked with as cooks excel in the industry. So much of being a chef is in training, teaching and mentoring; when the best ‘pupils’ succeed it’s a very rewarding and validating feeling. Two of the best pupils I’ve ever had are now Sous Chef at Tasty n Alder and Chef at Kim Jong Smokehouse, respectively.

First job: Slinging popcorn and candy at a Regal Cinemas here in Vancouver. I discovered early on that extra salt and oil in the hopper makes for an excellent popcorn. Ironically, at this time I hadn’t even considered being a chef.

Fun fact: I used to DJ at clubs and bars throughout Portland, and I love to listen to live music. I actually paid my rent while I was going to culinary school at Clark College by DJing during the weekends. And anyone who’s worked with me will tell you, I love to dance, anytime anywhere.

Favorite spot on a Saturday night: I always work Saturdays! That’s just part of being a cook. But I will say I love to get food and a beer afterwards, so grabbing a pint at Ben’s Bottle Shop or a midnight bowl of pho at Luc Lac after a long day is definitely a highlight.

Favorite movie: The Big Lebowski, The Last Jedi, Tampopo … I love movies, almost as much as I love food and music.

Music of choice: That’s like picking one favorite food, there’s no way! I do love house and dance music, but I also love indie rock, hip hop, funk, soul … My favorite recent albums were by Chromeo, Fleet Foxes, Bonobo, Tame Impala and Kendrick Lamar. Those are all pretty diverse.

Favorite place to eat: I love to eat, plain and simple. In the summer: My backyard, after grilling steaks and vegetables for my wife and daughter. My favorite restaurants in Vancouver, other than Gray’s of course, would be Rally Pizza, Amaro’s Table and Fuji’s Grill. In Portland it would be Marukin Ramen, Tilt, Apizza Scholls and Devil’s Dill Sandwich Shop. My daughter is obsessed with a steak salad at Breakside Brewing, and I love their beer, so we go there as a family pretty frequently.

Motto/Inspirational quote: “Communication and Compromise are the cornerstones to any good relationship.” I have no idea who said this, or exactly when it became a personal mantra, but it’s true. Work, family, business, personal; all relationships are better with communication and compromise.



Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.