16 June 2023

The restaurant that brought France to Bungendore goes on the market

| Sally Hopman
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Man and woman

Josephine and Christophe Gregoire are selling their Bungendore restaurant, Le Tres Bon, after 16 years. Photo: Facebook.

The news was out: that special restaurant in Bungendore, Le Tres Bon, which had hosted locals and visitors for all their special occasions, was on the market.

Chef Christophe Gregoire and his wife Josephine, who have run the restaurant for 16 years, were in New Caledonia, taking clients on one of their culinary tours.

“I purposely hadn’t looked at my emails while we were away,” Josephine said on Thursday (15 June), the day after they returned from Noumea. “But when I started going through them this morning, I was overwhelmed at how lovely people had been. So many messages wishing us well, saying how they’d miss us, it was wonderful.

“One message brought me to tears,” she said. “It was from a woman who said we’d saved her.”

After a tragedy in the family, the woman, looking for something positive to keep her occupied, did one of the cooking courses – “and she told us it had saved her,” Josephine said. “That is so special.”

READ ALSO Bungendore’s art scene set to grow with new gallery opening

Josephine said it was no coincidence that they’d announced their decision to sell the restaurant from Noumea, the place where it all began.

“We are here, where our story started, symbolically resetting and starting a new chapter,” Josephine said.

The couple met when Josephine, originally from Queanbeyan, was working in the public health field with Pacific communities in New Caledonia. Christophe was there, too, teaching hospitality to local chefs.

“We met and married,” Josephine said. “Christophe said he’d come home with me, even though back then he didn’t have a word of English.

Chefs in kitchen

Master chef Christophe and his team in action at Le Tres Bon, Bungendore. Photo: File.

“But we came back around October 1999 and by November, we were running a restaurant in Manuka – Christophe’s.”

Josephine said although they were happy with how well the restaurant was doing in Canberra, she couldn’t help but worry about her husband’s commute every night from Bungendore.

So they ended up opening Le Tres Bon in Malbon Street in 2007, and haven’t looked back.

Built in around 1890, the provincial-style building includes seating for about 100 inside and out as well as a commercial kitchen and a second kitchen for teaching.

It had been beyond special, Josepehine said, for her family to be so welcomed into the Bungendore community and to play host to all the celebrations held at the restaurant over the past 16 years.

READ ALSO A food lover’s guide to Bungendore

“Bungendore was a wonderful place to raise our daughters,” Josephine said. “But in the beginning, it was harder for Christophe. I am grateful for the sacrifice he made for us. It was harder for him to have to soak up another language, another culture. But we were always focused on what our business was about. For us, it was always about the best seasonal produce, connections with food and wine. Everyone is doing it now but we started doing it back then – it was very important to us.”

Connection with the community has also played an important part in the restaurant’s success. After Josephine sent a note out asking if people would be interested in getting takeaway food during COVID-19, she was simply overwhelmed. They ended up with crowds lining up along Malbon Street to pick up their food and they also supplied the local IGA with their dishes.

“I wanted to give everyone a hug for supporting us during that time, but of course I couldn’t,” she laughed.

“That’s the sort of community it is here,” she said. “People are always helping each other.”

Josephine said although it was sad to sell the restaurant, it was the right time.


Bungendore’s popular French restaurant, Le Tres Bon, has just gone on the market. Photo: PRD Bungendore.

“We knew the restaurant would have a natural life here, and it has. We wanted to do it on a positive note, to go for no other reason than it was time to make changes, to free ourselves, not to be locked into a building.”

But the Gregoires plan to take their followers with them by continuing to run the cookery classes and gourmet overseas tours.

“Our future is exciting and we would like to invite all of you to continue sharing our food journey,” Josephine said.

Le Tres Bon is on the market for $220,000, including all assets, through PRD Bungendore.

Fans of the couple can keep up with their new adventures online.

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