For Brice Michaud, everything happens for a reason. “I’ve pretty much always thought that,” he said. Brice and his longtime partner Sandra moved from Harrison Hot Springs to the Columbia Valley in November of 2019. A Red Seal Chef, the first job Michaud got was working as a chef for Panorama Mountain Resort.
But before he got that job, he had a fateful, surprising encounter with an old friend. “I was having a beer up at Panorama and my server was a friend I’d made when I used to live and work in Hossegor,” Michaud said.
Hossegor was where Michaud lived for the last two years of his high school education and the location of his first job post culinary school. His mother, a chef working in the school system. His father, also a chef and known for his foie gras, was once an owner of a Parisian restaurant. “I initially went to culinary school to study baking, but I realized I didn’t like it.” For Michaud, baking was too scientific and measured. Of course, you can be creative in baking, but a creative ceiling is more present compared to other divisions of gastronomy.
The friend, Megan from Prince George, was living in the southwestern surf town by the Spanish border, working as a server. Michaud had no clue that she was living and working at Panorama when they crossed paths. “It was a crazy coincidence, but she was the one to finally convince Sandra and me that living in the Columbia Valley was our best choice for what we wanted.”
The couple, both from Europe (Sandra is Swiss), left Harrison Hot Springs in search of a ski town. “We loved Whistler, that was where we met and where I got my first job in Canada in 2015, but it was too expensive,” he said. “We thought of Revelstoke, but not until my meeting Megan did we settle on Columbia Valley.” Within months of their arrival, Sandra and Brice purchased real estate.
“I quickly fell in love with Canada. The people had a lot to do with it. When I went to Vancouver, I didn’t speak a word of English. A stranger saw I was lost one day and they came to help me. It was to me, unheard of generosity. And it’s beautiful everywhere here. Europe is so crowded. In the Columbia Valley, I can drive for less than ten minutes and be in the middle of nowhere.”
James Rose, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer