Sitting atop 627 King Street West, Lavelle is an upscale oasis within the heart of the city. But beyond the long pools and adult playground space lies the restaurant area led by Chef Romain Avril. Known throughout the city for his work at La Societe, Lavelle’s menu continues his legacy of delighting the six with a modern French menu ranges from small plates to his signature dishes bringing his own international influence and French flair to each meal. We sat down with Chef Romain Avril to learn more about the inspiration behind the culinary creations at Lavelle.
1. How did you first discover your passion for cuisine?
I have always known I wanted to be a chef. When I attended summer camp at 13, I would skip activities and hang out in the kitchen to help the chefs cook dinner for my teammates. I started taking cooking classes a year later.
2. What drew you first to working with Lavelle?
It was impossible to say no to the project. Working with a great owner that trusts me to create and design a menu that represents my culinary style was an opportunity I couldn’t resist.
3. When designing a menu, where do you draw your inspiration from?
I focus on Canadian, sustainable and wild products and then I’ll work around it using my knowledge and my palette. I’m confident enough to say I have my own style. Most of my creations are based off my childhood memory and feelings.
4. What is your favourite dish on the menu?
That’s so difficult to answer because they are all my babies. The tuna tartare, the cod cheeks, the choucroute, the lychee dessert… You have to come to the restaurant to understand why!
5. What has been the biggest obstacle in your career? And how did you learn from it?
I was 15 when I first worked in a restaurant as part of my school training. The sous chef at the time told me I had no future in this industry–that I was useless and should drop out and start another career. I used that as inspiration to keep following my dreams.
6. Any advice for aspiring chefs?
My advice would be to understand you don’t know everything. Always look for creative & inventive ways to enhance the food you’re creating. Being a chef isn’t easy and you have to be dedicated with every ounce of yourself.