Chez Michel finds perfect fit in new owners
Michel Masselin sees the transfer of ownership of his restaurant Chez Michel as a passing of the baton.
He and Elinor are thrilled to have found buyers for their Creemore restaurant in Milynne Benoit and Winston Barrett, who will be taking over at the end of the month.
The Masselins first opened Chez Michel at the end of 1989 in Craigleith, where it was located for 16 years before moving to Creemore in the fall of 2004, offering fine French cuisine to visitors and loyal customers.
The Masselins said they have been looking for someone to take over but were holding out for the right buyer. When they met Benoit and Barrett, they knew it was a perfect fit.
“We had a really good feeling about each other,” said Michel.
Elinor said she was very excited at the beginning but now that it is happening and it is sinking in, it’s very emotional.
Saturday will be Michel’s last day in the kitchen, before the restaurant closes for the switchover, and reservations are already booked solid.
While the switchover is bittersweet for the Masselins who are happy to have sold but also sad to go, it is a dream come true for Barrett, a red seal chef who has always wanted his own restaurant.
He said the decision to go into business together with Benoit has been encouraged by many happy coincidences with a number of chance meetings pointing them in the direction of Chez Michel.
Business partners in this new venture, Barrett (a Barrie resident) met Benoit (a New Lowell resident) while working at Barrie Country Club – Barrett as executive chef and Benoit as event manager.
Barrett, a classic French trained saucier, said they plan to keep the name of the restaurant for now and maintain some of the menu items – such as the popular Steak Frites – but will also add some of his own signature dishes, some French and some international. He said he will be looking to use many local suppliers to bring in the best ingredients.
Benoit, a trained wine steward, will be looking after the front of the house, adding event planning and catering to their services when they open for the first time on August 7. They will also offer take-out meals and platters.
“We are really excited to be a part of this community,” said Benoit.
Barrett said the new venture is a dream fulfilled.
“I have wanted this for a long time but now I have found the right person to do it with,” he said.
As for the Masselins, they aren’t leaving town, they will continue to live above the restaurant.
Chez Michel will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (no longer closing in the afternoon). It will open for Sunday brunch at 10:30 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. Chez Michel is located at 150 Mill Street, Creemore.
Visit chezmichel.ca or call 705-466-3331.