Emeril’s Homebase announced the appointment of Emeril’s alumnus Chef Will Avelar as chef de cuisine of Meril, Emeril Lagasse’s new restaurant opening in New Orleans’ Warehouse District later this year. Named after his youngest daughter, Meril will be Lagasse’s fourth restaurant in New Orleans.
A native of New Orleans, Avelar first joined the Emeril’s team in 2005, just prior to Hurricane Katrina. In the years since he’s enjoyed positions at all of Emeril’s New Orleans restaurants, from line cook and butcher to saucier and, most recently, sous chef at Emeril’s Delmonico. At Meril, Avelar will bring not only a decade’s worth of experience in the kitchen and an intimate knowledge of Lagasse’s inimitable style and craft, but his own unique flavors and creativity.
“We’re very excited about Meril and thrilled to have Will at the helm,” Lagasse says. “I’ve had wonderful mentors in my career and it’s always been important to me to provide opportunities for young talent that comes through my kitchens. Will has been a vital member of my team for many years. I’m proud to have him as chef de cuisine of Meril and look forward to collaborating with him on this new project.”
Lagasse’s first new restaurant in the New Orleans since the renovation of Emeril’s Delmonico in 1998, Meril will be located on Girod Street, between Magazine and Tchoupitoulas. Lagasse opened his flagship restaurant, Emeril’s New Orleans, in 1990. NOLA Restaurant opened in the French Quarter just two years later. Lagasse currently operates nine additional restaurants outside of the Crescent City, with locations in Las Vegas, Nevada; Orlando, Florida; and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Meril will be first new venture for Lagasse since the 2011 opening of Emeril’s Italian Table in Pennsylvania.