Off the Hill: The Left Bank restaurant offers French cuisine with a twist |

Off the Hill: The Left Bank restaurant offers French cuisine with a twist

By Tricia Swenson
For Jean-Michel Chelain, the chef-owner of The Left Bank restaurant in Vail, a love for cooking started at an early age. By 14 years old he was cooking so much he didn’t want to do much else. His mother had to cut a deal with him – in order to cook, he had to finish his degree. Chelain got his degree and worked in various restaurants in the north and south of France and eventually landed in the United States at the age of 26. After chef gigs in California and Florida, he came to the snowy slopes of Vail in 1998. “Sometimes when you are younger you just take a map and go, ‘here’s an interesting place, let’s go check it out’,” said Chelain. He arrived here with just a suitcase and started working for The Left Bank. In 2006 he became the owner of this restaurant specializing in French cuisine, which he says is sometimes misunderstood. “When people think of French food they think of it as being very heavy, which is not necessarily the case. Of course we have foie gras and bisque, but my philosophy is food should be made with the least amount of ingredients. It should be made with really fresh ingredients and all products that the body can break down,” said Chelain. He also has a philosophy on doing something you love. “If you wake up in the morning and have to go to ‘work’, you have to change something in your life. I never get up in the morning and go to ‘work’. I just go to what I love to do everyday, it’s not ‘work’,” said Chelain. Enjoy a dinner out in their beautiful dinning room over looking Gore Creek while enjoying tartare de saumon appetizer and dover sole with its tableside presentation or cozy up to the bar and grab one of their beef sliders. Since is it a French restaurant, you can be assured Chelain has a great glass of wine to go with whatever dish you choose. To learn more about chef Chelain and the type of food served, check out today’s video. To learn more and make reservations, visit

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