Langley’s S + L Kitchen & Bar is the first in a chain of restaurants planned by the Joseph Richard Group (JRG) and led by MasterChef winner David Jorge.
“We are going to have a few S + L’s, if not many,” Jorge said. “We want to have every location similar but also have some creative input from the chefs who will be running the kitchens.”
“I hate to use the word ‘chain’ because it has a stigma, but yeah, we are creating a chain,” he laughed.
The next two locations will be Abbottsford and south Surrey.
“We should be moving into a location in Abbotsford in a couple of weeks, and then construction will take us to about the end of summer,” Jorge explained, adding that the plan was to open around August. Meanwhile, they are still scouting for space in Surrey.
“That, of course, is a little bit of a challenge, finding reasonable space that could house a decent-sized restaurant. We are certainly not in a position to find an empty space. It is very expensive to start from scratch. Our typical model is to find something that already had a kitchen in it, and so we are in the hunt for south Surrey.”
Following his win on season 2 of MasterChef Canada, Jorge said it had been his lifelong dream to open a restaurant. He described the experience with S + L as “amazing.”
“I always wanted to design a menu and be part of a restaurant, to own a restaurant. So to have a steakhouse as a menu to develop, as my first menu, was, I think, a guy’s dream come true.”
Although Jorge said it was difficult to pick a favourite from the menu, there are two items that are special to him.
“I have been working on fried chicken about 10 years. It seems like a long time, but you can’t eat fried chicken every day. So, over the last 10 years, I have been trying to develop what I consider as perfect a fried chicken as possible.”
He called it one of his “go-to” foods.
“Then, the sablefish is near and dear to me because I used it as the dish that got me on MasterChef. We do a sablefish with Caesar salad, which is quite nice.”
Jorge said the competition experience indirectly prepared him for the restaurant business.
“In the sense of just really going for your dreams, to just go for it. Prior to that I only had the ambition to do it.”
“It takes a lot of guts to go out and start a restaurant, go on a reality show, go onto any sort of competition, so it certainly prepared me with the gumption for doing it.”
Jorge joined the JRG group in October 2015. He and the CEO of the company, Ryan Moreno, have known each other since high school.