L'Orignal was stoked to welcome ex-Tavern on the Square and Joe Beef chef Omar Zabuair last September. "We've been open close to seven years and felt it was time. We couldn't be happier with Omar and as much as we want to show off our new digs it's just as important we let everyone know what [he] is doing," said owner Travis Champion at the time. The hire, however, has not worked out as hoped and the 37-year-old Zabuair is no longer in the Old Montreal kitchen. "We just felt it was time to let some of our younger kids shine," explained Champion of the decision. Zabuair, for his part, did not want to comment.
In a Gazette interview soon after his arrival at L'Orignal, Zabuair was asked to give some advice to young cooks: "Spend your energy working, not going out after work. Save your energy to stay focused and be on your feet for sixteen hours. Keep your head clear, eat properly, drink water…It sounds funny but there are so many things that are easy to neglect. Sometimes you can end up drinking six cups of coffee and having a pack of cigarettes because you are under that adrenaline and pressure, but it will destroy you. It becomes a cycle that is really hard to break. I am not going to lie; I have been down that road. But I want to be here for the long run. I want that longevity."