At the end of May 2012, when the city of Toronto concluded their burger week, people here, in the city of Montreal, took notice. There were discussions led over social media debating whether or not Montreal could handle such an epic idea. Well, it wasn’t much of a debate since it was an awesome idea. In the weeks that followed the aftermath of Toronto’s Burger Week, seeds of interest popped up, all pointing towards Burger Week MTL.
For the last few months, loads of speculation was underway as to what this Burger Week MTL would be like and who was behind it. There were even a few people who thought that I had something to do with it, but an event of that magnitude needed someone with a vision far greater than mine. Backed up by the team over at Cyber Relief, Na’eem Adam was the man who was going to undertake this monumental task.
Na’eem has a special part in my Burger Search. He was the first person to really take notice of what I was doing last year. He was also one of the first bloggers to ever link my site to his. Without his support, I wouldn’t have be where I am today. I actually only really met him last year at an event he put together for Kono Pizza. There, I could see that he had his stuff together just by seeing how many people he was able to get in one place. The choice for the second topic for Burger 2 Burger was a no-brainer.
The choice for this sit-down interview was Nouveau Palais, a classic theme eatery in the Mile-End district of Montreal. It wasn’t until Na’eem explained his devotion to the area, where I would understand fully why this place was chosen. There were so many options in the roster for Burger Week MTL and Nouveau Palais was the one that came up. In a way, you can’t blame him at all, as the restaurant has become an important part in the city and despite not trying to be a burger restaurant, they happen to have one of the best going.
On a beautiful late-afternoon, we sat down to share a meal and catch up on all things burger. I pulled out my research, which comprised of one see-through yellow folder and he pulled out much more than I could imagine. Out came the lap-top computer, which was quickly followed by the powerful networking phone. He was still in burger mode, as he had a really busy day, with other restaurant deals still to be made later that night.
Sitting down with Na’eem was a complete honor and pleasure for me. In a way, it was incredible to see just how busy and connected he really was. To prove that, while we sitting down and waiting for our food, he received an e-mail from none other than Harley Morenstein, the face of Epic Meal Time. That’s something.
It might not be the link to rather famous individuals that made this sit-down special, but the quirks that I got to observe. After ordering my meal, he took notice to the pickle that was sitting on my plate. He was actually so fixated on it, that he asked the server to bring him out one of his own. Those are the unique attributes that truly make the face of Burger Week MTL and if you don’t believe me, just look at the next picture.
With all the media of Burger Week MTL this past week and all the pictures of Na’eem in the middle of eating something, I just couldn’t help it.
We spent about 2 hours at Nouveau Palais, under the watchful eye of Jacques, one of the owners. At that point, on our way out, I got to watch as Na’eem and Jacques had a tete-a-tete. I’m not going to reveal anything that was said, but I’m really hoping it turned out for the better.
Na’eem Adam - Le Mechant Mangeur - Co-Founder of Burger Week MTL
I’m an entrepreneur and Le Mechant Mangeur (A blog on Food & Sport). I like to manufacture 2.0 ideas, weld them together using creativity, research and wit. Burger Week MTL is my baby and I can’t wait for the city of Montreal to love it as much as we do. Enjoy the burgers and stay healthy!
What is Burger Week MTL?
Now, I’m going to try my best to sum up what I learnt from sitting down with Na’eem about Burger Week MTL. It’s truly one of the most unique events done in Montreal. You know, if Toronto could do, not only we could do it too, but do it so much better.
From September 1-7, citizens of the island of Montreal will travel to approximately 30 different restaurants participating in Burger Week MTL. Those restaurants have all created special burgers for the occasion, ranging from 5 dollars to 15 dollars. There are even bloggers who have submitted their own choices that they will be standing behind.
When you go to a restaurant, make sure you ask for the special Burger Week MTL creation. As you’re eating, you’ll be handed a special card that will be used to vote for your selection. As you eat burgers and check in through social media, you can earn points to win free stuff.
Celebrity judges will also be involved. Throughout the week, the Burger Week MTL team will pick-up the celebrity and drive them to 2 separate places. The first place will be the celebrity choice. The second place will depend on which restaurant is getting the most votes from the public.
One of the things we discussed through the time spent at Nouveau Palais, was the reluctance of certain restaurants wanting to be a part of this. Some places didn’t want to be associated with the label of burger joint. Others felt that they didn’t need the publicity. There were even a group of restaurants that wanted in, but since they are always jam packed, no one would ever get to try the burgers. I was shocked by some of the names I heard, but others didn’t really phase me too much.
In the end, Burger Week MTL is not meant to be taken seriously as the definitive answer to the age old question of the best burger in Montreal. It’s really a week dedicated to seeing the city through the buns of a outstanding burger. Have fun and try as many burgers as you can, that’s what it’s all about.
1. What are the origins of Burger Week MTL?
My love for burgers, montreal and fun. They also have burger week in other cities around the world.
2. What is Burger Week MTL?
A fun food tour, a discovery tool all while interlacing a light contest for the die hard burger lovers.It’s a celebration of burgers in our city.
3. How can normal people be involved?
Normal? haha. Choose a spot, have a burger, rate it online, tweet or facebook about how it was and have fun!
4. What are the roles of the celebrity judges?
To simply add to the fun and try some burgers at some of our Montreal restos
5. What was the process like getting a restaurant involved?
Not easy. But the ones that did are the ones that are making something like this possible in Montreal. Merci.
6. How important is social media to Burger Week MTL?
It’s very important. We wanted to make Burger Week Montreal a social event, so doing it online is best.
7. How does Burger Week MTL set itself apart from the Toronto version?
We have a social component that really helps make burger week a lot more fun and enjoyable with friends
I just want people to enjoy themselves.
8. Does this spawn off other similar events involving other foods?
9. Is there another city that rivals Montreal?
New York - Tokyo - Mumbai
10. Which non-burger eateries would you recommend in Montreal?
Bouillon Bilk, L’Orignal
11. If you were faced with having to have your final meal, where, what, and with who would it be?
With my fiance having margherita pizza in Naples.
I am hoping with all of my heart that Burger Week MTL will succeed. Anything that makes the burger more prominent is something that I’ll always put my support behind. As for my involvement in Burger Week MTL, I wouldn’t have it any other way than getting to experience it like every one of my fellow Montrealers. I’m personally going to choose the burger that seems to be the most appealing to me and I’m going to make it Burger 157 in my on-going search.
I want to leave you with the 2 words the Na’eem wanted me stress: POUTINE WEEK.