Over the summer, Toronto got a new hotspot. Complete with a much-hyped rooftop pool and 360 views of the city, Lavelle quickly became a favourite amongst locals. But Lavelle is so much more than just a place for the King St. crowd to mingle poolside and snap Insta-worthy pictures (though it’s good for that, too). It’s a French-inspired eaterie that offers an unparalleled menu imagined by our Chef of the Week.
Allow us to introduce you to Chef Romain Avril.
Not many chefs can say they’ve trained at Michelin-starred restaurants, but those are just a few accomplishments Chef Romain has under his belt. Now at the helm of Lavelle’s kitchen as Executive Chef, Chef Romain’s interest for cooking started at a young age, leading him to train in France at the University of Angers.
We had the opportunity to catch up with him outside of the kitchen to find out how he got his start, the one thing he would change about the industry, and his top choices for must-try restaurants. Take a look at our interview below.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I enrolled in cooking school when I was 13. From there, I completed placements and summer jobs at numerous restaurants in France.
How would you describe your culinary style?
I would describe my style as modern French with Asian influences.
What’s your favourite dish on your current menu and why?
This is always a hard question because every dish has a story, but the tuna tartare and Fogo Island cod cheek salad are definitely some of my favourites.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the restaurant industry?
I think people look at it as a glamorous job, but really it’s a sweat, tears, cuts and burns kind of job.
What’s your go-to meal to cook at home?
I actually don’t really cook at home as I am eating all my meals at the restaurant, but I do love to order in. It gives me the freedom to try different types of cuisine all the time.
What are three restaurants our readers need to try before they die?
Readers need to try Alinea in Chicago and Bras (Michel Bras) in France. And Lavelle, of course!
What’s one tip our readers should know to up their own game in their kitchens?
Quality ingredients, good equipment, and sharp knives will take you a long way.
If there was one thing in the restaurant industry you could change, what would it be?
Honestly, I love my job and my industry the way it is. But I wish cooks could make more money. A lot of them live pay cheque to pay cheque and it’s not fair when you measure the amount of work they put in.
How do you think Toronto (and/or Canada’s) culinary scene will evolve in the future?
I am truly a believer that the new generation will continue to put Canada and Toronto on the map from a culinary perspective. Chefs like Brandon Olsen, Sean MacDonald, Barbode Soudi, to name a few, are pushing the envelope and helping to take Toronto’s culinary scene to another level. I am grateful to be considered in their company.
Are there any chefs you’d like to see profiled? Let Vv Magazine know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.