Emeril Lagasse opens Meril in September_lowres (copy)

Chef Will Avelar. 

Longtime Emeril’s employee Will Avelar has left Meril (424 Girod St.), the trendy Warehouse District restaurant where he has been chef de cuisine since it opened in 2016.

The chef departed to run Mawi Tortillerias (5050 Esplanade Ave., Metairie), the tortilla business his family has run for the past several years, according to a spokesperson for the restaurant.

Avelar, a New Orleans native who spent much of his childhood in Costa Rica, has worked for Lagasse’s company since right before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He started as a line cook and worked his way up to chef de cuisine.

His father, Carlos Wilfredo Avelar took over the Metairie tortilla business after his son started buying from the specialty grocery. The business supplies several restaurants in the New Orleans area.

At Meril, Darren Chabert is the chef de cuisine. He has worked for Lagasse since 2008, first at Emeril’s Delmonico and later at Meril.