The Provence Group of Restaurants are award-winning Mediterranean French restaurants located in Vancouver, BC that “transport you to the South of France without the jetlag”. The first restaurant, Provence Mediterranean Grill, was opened in 1997 when the married chef couple Alessandra Quaglia and Jean-Francis decided to pursue their life-long dream of opening their own restaurant.
Since then, the couple has opened 2 more establishments in Vancouver – Provence Marinaside (sister restaurant to Provence Mediterranean Grill) and TWB (The Wine Bar). The couple co-authored the book “New World Provence – Modern French Cooking for Friends and Family”. “People just want to come back and taste something they can relate to,” says Alessandra Quaglia on the Provence, “It’s a good, honest product and nothing too complicated. It’s just simple, really good ingredients.”
A native of Marseille, Jean-Francis made his first “Tarte au Citron” at age 8. This same tarte is now featured on Provence’s menu. When he was 16, he decided that he too wanted to become a chef like this mother, enrolling at the École Hôteliere de Marseille and doing his first apprenticeship in Hôtel Sofitel in Marseille. Following this, he had a brief stint in his mother’s restaurant before driving in his old Citroën “Deux Chevaux” to the Cõte D’Azur and Monte Carlo to serve as Commis de Cuisine under the direction of Chef Bruno Caironi (formerly Sous Chef to Alain Ducasse). He then went on to work with Chef Elie Mazot at Relais & Châteaux’s Le Château de la Chèvre d’Or in Eze.
Jean-Francis worked at many esteemed restaurants in Europe before finally ending up at Hotel Negresco in Nice, where he met Alessandra. Together they returned to Marseille where he worked as Sous Chef in his mother’s restaurant Le Patalain in 1991. A year later they moved to Canada where they finally got married.
Jean-Francis’ Canadian career included serving as sous-chef under Bruno Born at Le Coq d’Or and as Chef de Cuisine for the Sheraton Wall Centre, before opening Provence.