Emeril Lagasse names chef for his next New Orleans restaurant _lowres

Photo provided by Emeril's Homebase - Will Avelar, sous chef at Emeril's Delmonico, was named chef de cuisine at Meril, the next restaurant from Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans.

Amid a cluster of construction in the Warehouse District, chef Emeril Lagasse’s next restaurant has been quietly taking shape. Today, his company revealed one of the major components: its chef.

Will Avelar has been named chef de cuisine for Meril, the restaurant that Lagasse is developing at 424 Girod St. The new restaurant, which is named for Lagasse’s youngest daughter, is expected to open later this year.

Avelar is a long-time alum at Lagasse’s company and the latest from the celebrity chef’s culinary corps to move up the ranks to the top kitchen position at one of his restaurants.

He’s a New Orleans native who spent much of his childhood in Costa Rica. He returned to New Orleans for high school and got his start in the restaurant realm as busing tables. He joined Lagasse’s company in 2005, just prior to Hurricane Katrina, and worked his way up from line cook to his most recent position as sous chef at Emeril’s Delmonico.

“We’re very excited about Meril and thrilled to have Will at the helm,” Lagasse said in a release. “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.”

Meril, which is about three blocks from the chef’s flagship Emeril’s Restaurant, will be his fourth restaurant in New Orleans and the latest in the city since he took over the historic Delmonico in 1998. Lagasse’s company run nine other restaurants in Las Vegas, Orlando, Florida, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


424 Girod St., anticipated opening later in 2016

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.