They say, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” We believe a similar relationship exists between food and culture. Every signature dish at Carmen embodies a Spanish value.

Book Table

Perhaps unconsciously, Spaniards express their way of life, history and values through their culinary traditions. That’s why a visit to Carmen means more than savouring divine food… It also means stepping into Spain, catching a glimpse of the Spanish culture and celebrating everyday life…

The team at Carmen are globetrotters and passionate foodies who live and work in the community that we love. A tight-knit team, we are proud of our positive work environment, where culinary mentorship is emphasized and exchanged amongst peers.

Luis Valenzuela Robles Linares

Chef & Owner

“Close your eyes and imagine what you want to do for the rest of your life,” a wise man once asked 14-year-old Luis. That conversation set him on his journey towards a profession in the culinary arts.

For Luis, cooking is a medium through which he makes the invisible, visible, like transforming raw materials into a mouth-watering dish. He admires Spanish food, for he thinks it symbolizes conviviality. He feels alive, centered, and present while cooking. Maybe that’s why he says, “I’ve never thought about cooking as my job.” He then adds, “It is my calling.”

Luis cooks some of the most exciting dishes in Toronto’s food scene. According to him, “respect” is his secret sauce… Respect the dignity of the ingredients. Respect the authenticity of traditional recipes. And respect the harmony of his team.

A proud partner of Transparent Kitchen, Chef Luis invites his guests to extend their dining experience by learning more about the products he uses in his kitchen.

Stéphane Vincent

Executive Chef

Stéphane Vincent was born and raised in Sault St. Marie, a small city in Northern Ontario. His relationship with food began cooking at a very young age. He reminisces about early memories of cooking with his mother, and the smells of vinegar and spices that would fill the home as they made pickles and preserves from hand-picked berries and vegetables. His food philosophy has since been guided by the traditions of his First Nations Indigenous roots – this does not necessarily mean cooking native food, but rather building a relationship between its traditions and food culture. At the core, it is all about being Canadian and celebrating local and sustainable products as best he can.
He got his first taste of cooking in his youth, where he worked at a small chip stand, and his life has been about cooking ever since. After studying at George Brown, be started working at Torito, a Spanish tapas spot in Toronto’s Kensington Market. This vibrancy of this neighborhood made it an inspiring place to be a chef – the diversity in cultures, the opportunity to pick up fresh ingredients daily – they all brought colour and life to his food. He loved the two and a half years he spent working at Torito, he believes that if the establishment hadn’t closed its doors, he would still happily be working there.
Today, Stéphane is the executive chef at Carmen, a Spanish restaurant serving traditional fare on Queen St. West. This is his fourth chapter working with owner Veronica Laudes, and he jumped on the opportunity to work with her again. Carmen is a beautiful space and they have a beautiful team. Chef Stéphane’s goal is to continue pushing it forward while putting his own spin on its new menu – his commitment to tradition and teamwork. He is proud to be part of building a really positive and inclusive culture, both front and back of the house. His team is from every corner of the world and is adamant about the importance of ensuring they know that everyone has a voice. He sees the kitchen in a very holistic way, and it wants to ensure that each person feels that their role is extremely valued grand scheme of each service. As a chef and a leader, he ensures that Carmen feels like family and that is is not just a safe place, but a fun place to learn and grow together.

Veronica Laudes

Front of House Manager & Owner

“I’m a romantic!” says Veronica. Indeed for her, matters of the heart precede everything. She loves food, particularly those that are prepared with passion and good ingredients. She loves warm, energetic and friendly people. She loves smiling, being happy and making people happy. And that’s why she opened Carmen.

Born in Chile to Spanish parents, Veronica was raised with traditional Spanish values. Art, the Flamenco culture and Spanish food have always been dear to her. Curious, passionate and sociable by nature, Veronica connected the dots and became a successful restaurateur.

“To mean what you do” is the key to Veronica. Her entire team is chosen accordingly. From the restaurant’s bold menu to the way guests are greeted, one could find the imprints of her trademarked passion in every detail of Carmen.