Infusiast Spotlight: Chef Romain Avril - LEVO Oil Infusion, Inc.
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Infusiast Spotlight: Chef Romain Avril

In the culinary world where tradition meets innovation, Chef Romain Avril stands out with his journey from Paris to Toronto, bringing a blend of classical French training and bold molecular gastronomy. Our latest Infusiast Spotlight, Chef Avril's path to culinary excellence, his embrace of the LĒVO Lux for inventive flavor infusions, and the creation of his signature Olive Oil Hard Candy. Dive into Chef Avril's story, where passion, precision, and LĒVO innovation converge to redefine modern cuisine.

Chef Avril, your journey from Paris to Toronto is quite remarkable. Can you share with us what initially sparked your passion for cooking, and how your early experiences in France shaped your culinary path?

I don’t have your classic story that it ran in the family, etc. For me, it was a calling. I knew from the age of 12-13 that I was meant to follow that path, though it wasn’t my teacher's favorite decision.

You've worked in prestigious kitchens across Europe and North America. How do you feel these diverse culinary environments have influenced your approach to cooking?

100% I think the experience that you accumulate and the cultures you’re exposed to are the foundation of your craft. As seasoned chefs, we invent and create, but in our first years, we definitely are influenced by “what we know."

Your transition from classical French training to fusion and molecular gastronomy is fascinating. What inspired this shift, and how do you continue to innovate in the kitchen?

It really started in 2007, when I was graduating from my degree in Chinese and French gastronomy. I had to go to China for my work experience.

Sadly, my visa was denied, so I had to fall back on my feet really quickly. I ended up going to a 2 Michelin star in London, specializing in French/Asian molecular cooking. I truly found myself as a Chef in this restaurant.

You've had the unique opportunity to serve a variety of diners, from politicians to celebrities. How do these experiences impact your approach to creating new dishes?

To be quite honest, it doesn’t. Whether you’re a famous politician, artist, athlete or just someone who enjoys food, I will put the same amount of effort, care and love into the food.

What led you to incorporate the LĒVO Lux into your culinary toolkit, and how has it changed the way you think about flavor infusion and recipe development?

Infusion is a part of the modern chef; it is molecular cooking. Although it is attainable without equipment, it truly does help to have such a tool at your disposal.

I have also started to incorporate flower into my arsenal, so the LĒVO Lux is simply a device I can’t live without.

The LĒVO Lux is known for its precision in infusion. Can you share a particular moment or recipe where this precision significantly impacted the outcome of your culinary creation?

What I love is the activation mode. The simplicity of the machine for the user is as impressive as the precision of its infusions. I tell people how important it is to warm spices or ingredients before any infusion, whether in a sauce or an oil, so having this mode, pre-infusion changes the outcome tremendously to the final flavor profile of the element you’re infusing.

When developing new recipes, especially something as innovative as Olive Oil Hard Candy, what's your creative process like? How do you decide which flavors or ingredients to infuse?

I can't give you all my secrets… just kidding, I am an open book. The original recipe created by Jose Andres featured a simple yet complex olive oil.

I wanted to take this further by adding three extra layers and infusing the oil. Now my creativity works closely with my palate memory. By thinking of a few ingredients, my brain is capable of recreating the flavor on my tongue/palate, so I will know what works and what doesn’t.

The sky is the limit, with so many variables, it truly is endless.

Your recipes are known for their unique culinary flavors. Can you give us a sneak peek into how you plan to incorporate these into your work with LĒVO, particularly for intermediate to advanced home chefs?

Yes, whether it is in my videos, my catering, dinners, or hopefully soon my restaurant, it will add an option for me when I am in R&D activation and my creative process. It adds a weapon into my arsenal.

It will be the core of all my infusions for my flower dinners, demos and may be a partner of my next cookbook.

In your opinion, how does the LĒVO Lux fit into the modern culinary arts, and why should professional and home chefs consider integrating it into their kitchens?

First of all, it's look and design. It looks good, is simple to use and has high capabilities. I can place it beside my espresso machine and it just belongs. Also, if someone wants to infuse larger amounts you can upgrade to something bigger. 

I am a fan of machines that are compact and can be moved, as I need a variety of machines and bulky “restaurant” ones are becoming obsolete. We have less and less room to play with. It is also a great introduction to modern cooking for Chefs that are still in discovery mode as it is so quick to handle.

With your extensive background in fine dining and molecular gastronomy, how do you see devices like the LĒVO Lux changing the landscape of culinary innovation?

Without devices like the LĒVO Lux, there isn’t molecular gastronomy. It is as simple as that. Since we are modifying the state and form of ingredients, we need machines to assist us as well as natural chemicals.

Sous vide machines, circulators, the LĒVO Lux, Sphéricator, liquid nitrogen and so on are the tools that we require to achieve our crazy ideas.

The Olive Oil Hard Candy is a sophisticated take on a classic favorite. What inspired this recipe, and why did you choose it for your LĒVO spotlight?

I wanted it to be as simple and clean as possible to showcase the infusion. Most dishes featuring an infusion are an element of the recipe. In this case, it is the recipe. The oil is the crown jewel, versus the setting to hold it.

Looking ahead, can you give us a hint about any upcoming projects or recipes that you're particularly excited about?

Honestly, it is almost impossible for me to say as I create with feelings and I don’t know the mood I’ll be in when I'm about to create new recipes.

That being said, you can expect to see some seasonal recipes, so spring will be sprung soon.

For aspiring chefs and culinary enthusiasts who admire your work, do you have any advice on pursuing a career in the culinary arts?

Passion, hard work, and good ethics are the pillars in my book to achieve greatness in this field. Do not give up. Skills will be honed after practicing time and time again.
Rome (and Romain) wasn’t built in a day.

Where can our readers follow your culinary adventures and learn more about your work with LĒVO?

You will find more recipes on my social media from short forms, Instagram and TikTok to more long forms (step-by-step) on YouTube.


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