A new eatery with some French influence is opening up in the Austin area. The restaurant is called laV and will be headed up by sommelier Vilma Mazaite, chef Allison Jenkins and pastry chef Janina O’Leary. The eatery will be a neighborhood spot, serving up rustic yet refined fare and a well-chosen wine list.
This restaurant has an all-women team of three people in the height of their culinary career. If you attend an Austin culinary school, it’s important to learn how people in different roles work together to build a menu and run a business. Here is some insight into the background of the culinary team at laV:
Sommelier – Mazaite is a Lithuania-born sommelier. She worked for Rajat Paar, the wine director for Michael Mina in Las Vegas, where she gained first-hand experience and a robust knowledge of wine. In conjunction with this restaurant venture, Mazaite is studying to become a master sommelier.
Chef – Jenkins, executive chef at laV, first trained in London to become a chef, then finished her culinary degree in the states. Recently, she was the executive chef at Ajax Tavern in Texas. Her passion lies in cooking sustainably, using local ingredients and working with her regional flair.
Pastry chef – O’Leary has an impressive resume, as she was the 2013 James Beard Award semi-finalist in the “Rising Star Chef of the Year” category. She has also worked for three Michelin-starred restaurants and even opened Village Tart in New York, where she served as executive chef. Back in Austin, she became the executive pastry chef at TRACE in the W Austin. Now she will bring her culinary expertise to the desserts at laV.