Renée Lavallée was born and raised in Shawville, Quebec. She left home at an early age to attend George Brown College in Toronto. After close to twenty-five crazy years in the business, including many stents in restaurants around the world, Renée now calls Nova Scotia home.
After a brief hiatus to raise her family, Renée jumped back into the ring to open The Canteen – an award-winning sandwich shop in Downtown Dartmouth. After less than three busy years The Canteen opened up a brand new full-service restaurant and take-out shop called Little C only two blocks from its original location. In 2019, The Canteen received 9 Golds in various categories for The Coast’s Best of Halifax Awards.
In April 2020, at the start of the pandemic, Renée and her husband/business partner launched The Canteen Community Kitchen which went on to supply over 10,00 meals to those in need through The North Grove Community Food Centre. They then went on to launch a new YouTube channel called The Canteen Cooks, which focuses on teaching viewers how to produce restaurant quality food out of their own kitchens.
Renée has a long list of professional accolades and has been the spokesperson for a number culinary brands and organizations including Taste of Nova Scotia, Select Nova Scotia, Community Food Centres Canada, Dairy Farmers’ of Canada and more. In 2017, Renée was voted as Best Chef for The Coast’s Best of Halifax Awards three years in a row and was named the 2018 Culinary Ambassador of the Year by Taste of Nova Scotia.
In 2019, Renée appeared as a contestant on Food Network Canada's hit series, Top Chef Canada – Season 7. She appeared in seven of eight episodes finishing in the top five. The Canteen then went on to be featured on Food Network Canada’s Big Food Bucket List. In 2020, Renée then went on to appear as a judge on several episodes of Food Network Canada’s new series, Wall of Chefs.
Renée is an ardent supporter of local farmers, fishers and various other types of food producers. She can often be spotted at any number of local farmers’ markets with her husband and business partner Doug, daughter Zoe and son Philippe in tow.