Ottawa’s Popular Chef René Rodriguez’ Leaves the Kitchen at Orto Trattoria
Veteran Ottawa chef René Rodriguez has recently announced that he would no longer be working at the kitchen at Orto Trattoria in the Glebe. He is saying good bye to his Italian cooking stint and getting ready to embrace French food. He would be replaced by sous-chef Razmon Poisson. Pastry chef Marie Ford would also remain at Orto, reports the OttawaCitizen.com.
Rodriguez announced that he will be the new chef at a new modern French restaurant opening on Elgin Street this fall.Presently, he is cooking at Common Eatery on Elgin Street. The owners of Common Eatery would be the ones opening up the French restaurant on the same street.
Chef Rodriguez, who won the top chef Canada on the 2014 season of the Food Network Canada TV Show, when he came first ahead of thirteen other Canada chefs, is well known in the country, having been shot into the lime light by that competition. He is now in his mid-40s. Last year, Rodriguez appeared on the U.S. Food Network Show Beat Bobby Flay, where he won against the U.S. mega-star chef.
Rodrigues cooked in several restaurants in Ottawa in the 2000s before opening his own restaurant in 2008. The restaurant, Navarra, closed in the spring of 2017. It was located in Murray street and he had worked together with chef Poisson and chef Ford. I made the decision to close Navarra for several reasons, including high costs and a tough climate for many small restaurants, as well as a need for change,” said Rodriguez when he closed the restaurant.
A profile on Chef Rene Rodriguez on Lifestylechef, described him as “born to be a chef.” Despite being born in Ottawa, he spent most of his youth living in Mexico. He started working in his uncle’s Mexican restaurant at the age of 12, at age 18, Rene returned to Ottawa and started working as an apprentice cook. He spent the next five years working in various restaurants in the Ottawa region exploring his passion for food and building a life for himself in Canada.
He enrolled Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School program at age 24 and then went on to Algonquin college to complete his Red Seal Certification and culinary courses. He then honed his skills by working as a Sous Chef at the Ironwood Café and at Luna Bar and Kitchen in Ottawa.
Rene said he gets his inspiration from reading various chefs’ cookbooks and traveling to taste the creations of his favourite Chefs. One of the major influences on his cooking is his Mexican upbringing, which usually makes a huge impact on his food.
When he is not at work, René can be found around his various other passions such as classical music, traveling and dining in world-class restaurants and working in famous kitchens such as the Fifth Floor in San Francisco. René’s mentors include Ferran Adria from El Bulli in Spain, Ken Oringer from Boston and Charlie Trotter from Chicago.