Chef Julien Gremaud / photo by Tara Koenke

Chef Julien Gremaud / Photo by Tara Koenke

If you’re an avocado lover, and you know you are, then you probably know of Avocado Grill (Hello, Ginger Guac!). But do you know the man behind the scenes, Julien Gremaud? He won us over with his innovative, small-plates menu when the original Avocado Grill opened up back in 2014 — and has continued to do so ever since. And yes, the restaurant has more than avocados.

Although he has quite the busy schedule (he just opened a second restaurant, nicknamed “AG2”), we managed to get an interview with him. Read on to learn about his first culinary memories, the new restaurant, and what advice he would give to incoming chefs.

1) Tell us about your first kitchen experience.
As a child, I spent many hours learning the basics of French cooking under my mother’s patient instruction. We would spend hours in our family’s kitchen. We had a great time, and she equipped me with the confidence and skill to become a professional chef, even holding my first job at just 14 years of age.

2) What’s your drink of choice?
I can’t say I have a favorite. I do love the perfect glass of wine with a meal. Pairing the perfect wine will enhance your meal and make it more enjoyable.

3) What about secret talents? Do you have anything that you’re hiding from us?
I love designing restaurants! I discovered this as we built both Avocado Grill in West Palm Beach and our newest location in Palm Beach Gardens. I wanted to create the perfect atmosphere for guests to have fun and have the highest-quality food. Avocado Grill is fresh and fun, and I wanted the restaurant to reflect that.

4) Do you have any advice for those looking to become a chef?
Opening and running restaurants will always keep you on your toes. As any restaurateur and chef knows, things are always evolving in our industry, and you have to evolve and work through it. There are always going to be things that happen that are out of your control. You just need to handle them as best you can. And you need to be consistent and innovative. Chefs and restaurants are really upping their game these days, so you need to stand out to be successful.

5) As we move into summer, what are you most excited about?
We are most excited about the new outdoor space in our newest location in Downtown at the Gardens. This has been a long time coming and will provide an exciting outdoor experience to our guests. Look for fun outdoor events such as live music and special events. This is also a great spot for guests to host their own private events.

6) Tell us about some of the local farms that you work with.
We work very often with Pontano Farms. They are a great local farm and always share with us fresh, quality ingredients to use in all of our dishes and even in cocktails.

7) When did you start working with local farms, and why do you think it’s important?
Working with local farms, and seafood and meat purveyors, has always been important to me. You cannot serve the highest-quality foods if your ingredients are not fresh. You can assure they are fresh when you know who and where they are coming from. We take pride in our menu, featuring locally sourced, hand-picked ingredients. Working with local farms is part of Avocado Grill’s mission and vision, not only for our valued patrons and guests but also for our local and global environments.

8) Who has helped you get to the place you are now?
That list is so long! From my family and friends, to customers and vendors, everyone who has been a part of this journey has helped to make a significant impact. I am grateful for each and every one one of them.

9) Tell us about the new restaurant. How is it different from your first location?
Avocado Grill in Palm Beach Gardens – nicknamed “AG2” – is on the first level of Downtown at the Gardens. Our menu offers the same tantalizing favorites as the West Palm Beach location, as well as new surprises like Blow Torch Salmon, Miso Sea Bass and a BBQ Brisket Sandwich (didn’t see that one coming, did you?). And, just as important in AG2 as in our original location, handcrafted cocktails are always a priority!

10) Back to Avocado Grill – why should we love the restaurant, and what are you doing there that’s truly unique to the restaurant and to you as a chef?
We try to be as exciting and innovative as possible. Bringing our guests the highest-quality, freshest ingredients in thrilling ways is fun for us. Diners can always find something new and fresh on our daily “specials” menu. The Avocado Grill experience is one you won’t forget.

11) Is there anything on your agenda that we should know about?
Stay tuned for exciting charity events that I am now a part of. In the last few years, I teamed up with No Kid Hungry and have been able to help the organization raise thousands of dollars to feed children in our community who are food-insecure. We will once again host a special chef’s dinner this summer, where we bring in local chefs who are doing big things – and we will provide guests with an incredible meal and experience. Stay tuned for details.

12) Shout out — Is there a little guy that you want to tell the world about?
Yes! My son, Luca. My wife Tristan and I are so in love with him. He has changed our lives for the better, and I look forward to passing my love for the kitchen down to him.