Ginette Bisallion and Robin Askew first opened the doors of what would become London’s premier fine dining spot, the Auberge du Petit Prince in 1972. The building was once a quaint manor, but with a small budget and big dreams they transformed it into a true culinary destination. Auberge du Petit Prince (Inn of the Little Prince) drew inspiration from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's book The Little Prince, and the original proprietors worked hard to convey a similar whimsical elegance. The Auberge was a place to not only enjoy classic French food and wine, but enjoy good company too. Friends gathered late at night, playing chess by the grand fireplaces or eating delectable dishes at quaint checked-clothed tables. In those days, there were only 7 tables and no set menu – Ginette devised new entrees and appetizers each day to suit the seasons. The first Auberge continued this way until 1979 when Ginette and Robin sold it to their sous-chef Chris Squire. Squire, who is known for his innovative French cooking with fresh regional ingredients, had worked his way up from dishwasher, to a nationally recognized chef, and quickly established Auberge as London’s top fine dining destination until 1997.
In its most recent incarnation, Auberge du Petit Prince was reopened in 2006 by the Arroyas family (of Archies Fish and Chips fame). After studying culinary arts throughout Europe, Nicole Arroyas inspired her family to revive the French food destination. In the 10 years since Squire’s ownership, a few other restaurant projects had moved through the space but Nicole was the first to return to French roots. Aside from culinary style, the new Auberge was quite different than the old. Arroyas’ Auberge was designed around different regions of France. The western dining room was called Versailles and the eastern was Provence, while the front sunroom was known as Cannes. The Auberge succeeded this way for nine years until it closed in the autumn of 2014. Nicole’s passion had moved on to patisserie, and with her new project called Petit Paris, the Arroyas' decided to “pull the plug when we are on top”.
460 King Street remained unoccupied until Growing Chefs! Ontario moved into the space in December 2016. Growing Chefs! will now transform the space into a Food Education Centre to help address the growing demand for food literacy programming in London. At full capacity we plan to have 10,000 children, families and community members get excited about cooking delicious healthy foods with us here at Auberge each year. Events hosted in Auberge contribute to our fundraising efforts as we work to build a healthier community that is engaged with our food system. Growing Chefs! is very excited to build on the rich culinary history of this building by inviting kids, families, and our community into the space to learn about and enjoy good food. Good food is for everyone!
By dining with us, you are helping to support our education programming. We have big dreams for Auberge and food literacy in London and we are very excited to have you join us in that dream.