Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico-born Luis Valenzuela had a passion for food at an early age. Luis immigrated to Toronto in 2001 to study the culinary arts at George Brown College where he quickly developed his own unique style and flair, embracing traditional methods while staying true to his Latin roots. He then went on to Toronto’s notable North 44 and Bymark restaurants, working with renowned Chef Owner Mark McEwan and Executive Chef Brooke McDougall and Andrew Ellerby.
Luis continued to work under influential leaders who helped shape his culinary style. His travels took him to Europe where he worked under Chef Bruno Barrbieri in Verona, Italy and Chef Adolfo Munoz in Toldeo, Spain. After returning to Toronto, Luis became Head Chef at Café Cinquecento in 2006, and quickly rose through the culinary scene and became Executive Chef at Torito Tapas Bar in 2007. Throughout these experiences, Luis has been able to create balance by contributing back to the community through meaningful charitable causes and campaigns.
In 2012, he became Co-Owner and Executive Chef of Carmen Cocina Espanola, offering Toronto Spanish-inspired cuisine paired with Luis’ bold influence. In 2013, Carmen received a nomination as one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants by Enroute Magazine.
Luis’ culinary philosophy reflects the rich diversity of Toronto. He articulates global flavours while also honouring the land, working with southern Ontario producers and farmers to seek out the finest regional ingredients. Outgoing and devoted to craft, Luis is also passionate about mentoring young chefs to discover their talents in the same way that he was encouraged. He is proud to foster strong and dynamic teams that are continuously learning and striving for excellence. Luis is passionate about making a difference to cuisine in Canada, one dish at a time