photo by anni becker
Vancouver native returns home to spark local food and wine scene
Keri Gallagher is something of a globe-trotting foodie. Hailing originally from Vancouver where she worked at Italian spot Little Italy’s Trattoria for six years, she set off in 2001 for Hawaii. She then went traveling in New Zealand, where she had her “wine epiphany,” and returned to the Northwest to attend wine school at Walla Walla Institute of Viticulture and Enology.
But as it turns out, she joked, “I like to drink it, not make it.” So back to the Southern Hemisphere for a sommelier course at the New Zealand School of Food and Wine in Christchurch, where she earned her diploma in wine and spirits. Taking a job as a sommelier in a five-star resort in the Maldives, she lived off the coast of India for a year, then returned to New Zealand to teach the wine course she had taken.
After a 2011 earthquake in which she lost everything, and a short time living and teaching on her boss’s farm in the Christchurch countryside, she moved back to Vancouver. Quickly, she established a creperie stand at the Vancouver Farmers Market, and this fall it evolved into a bricks-and-mortar shop in the back of Angst gallery and adjacent to the very popular Niche wine bar on Main Street in downtown Vancouver.
“I came back last year, reevaluated, and wanted to stay here and start something,” said Gallagher.
At C’est la Vie, Gallagher offers savory and sweet crepes, homemade soup, salad greens with preserved lemon vinaigrette, croque monsieur, and sweets such as macaroon cookies, flourless chocolate cake and almond cake, madeleine cookies as well as seasonal tartes. Daily specials feature seasonal fare, and locally sourced foods are used where possible, including Longview’s Beautiful Pig and items from the Vancouver Food Co-op, as well as Provvista, a Northwest specialty foods importer. Breakfast and lunch are served five days a week and prepared in Niche’s kitchen.
Enchanted Tea from Tea Bar Downtown that previously occupied the space is available in addition to French press coffee and cafe au lait from using the speciaI Niche blend from Compass Coffee Roasting in Vancouver.
Gallagher, who also teaches wine classes at Niche, has a vision of creating a small culinary center, which would include a wine shop and café, and a wine school.
“I saw the growth and potential in Vancouver, how downtown has blossomed – it’s fantastic,” she said. “Ten years of being a gypsy has come to an end.”
1015 Main Street, Vancouver