Good Cause: From the streets to the stars

Last night was held the From the streets to the stars Event which I told you about in an earlier post below. A foodie twist on a fund-raising evening for homeless youth, the night saw 10 chefs from 10 top Montreal restaurants battling it out and reinventing one of the street foods par excellence, hamburgers.

Jolifou and chef David Ferguson went with grilled salmon burgers and fresh vegetables

Boucan’s burger was made of stuffed and fried jalapeno peppers on… a hot-dog bun.

L’Épicier served a burger of duck confit with foie gras mayonnaise.

For the first time in its 8-year history, the event was sold out. I can testify that the Belvedere in Old Montreal’s Science Centre was full to the brim with a crowd of young urban professionals — are they still called yuppies? — who came to bust a gut for a good cause. I must admit I stopped around burger #8 from sheer bun exhaustion, but I know some (and I could name names) who actually went for thirds. The honour system was no match for these burger banditos.

Kitchenette/Icehouse chef Nick Hodge came looking for a win, which he did in my book.

In the end, St-Urbain and chef Marc-André Royal won the public vote, for the second year in a row, this time with their osso bucco hamburger made with braised veal shank and duck fat brioche.

St-Urbain and sister bakery La bête à pain were the only ones to bring a warmer. I saw another chef melting cheese with a hand-held blow torch, while chatting up the crowd. Do not attempt at home.

The judges chose Ferreira Café’s spicy trio meat burger on a Portuguese bun.

I wish I could show you Ferreira’s burger other than a work in progress but I ate it. End of explanation.

Both were faves of mine, after my own personal best though: Kitchenette’s fried chicken chili cheeseburger. What can I say, I’m a sucker for big bold taste.

I’m told Kitchenette’s pickles were homemade. The burger part was made from chili simmered for a long time, then chilled overnight so it could be formed into patties, breaded and fried. That’s conviction, people.

Surprisingly only two hamburgers were actually made with beef, which may have influenced the jury’s decision? A beef patty cooked medium-rare, a just toasted brioche: chef Marino Tavares delivered well-made, classic food in keeping with his Café’s solid reputation.

The evening’s two winners: on the left, chef Royal relaxing before the doors open; and on the right, chef Tavares after the win. That pan sure reminds me of Les Chefs suddenly.

Catherine Lefebvre, the super blogger nutritionist, pointed out to me how strange that no chef presented a vegetarian variation, considerably less costly than Angus beef when you’re living in the street. Words to the wise?

Working it out, 10 teams sprung into action the minutes the doors opened. Impressive.

To all the chefs, congrats. And to all of you who missed this opportunity to help a worthy cause and thrill your taste buds beyond the beyond, it’s always possible to donate to Dans la rue right here. Or to look out for next year’s edition scheduled for September 2012. It is worth the price of admission and the day after tummy troubles.

The jury included the guys from Montreal Burger Report. Anne-Marie Withenshaw, the evening’s MC and event spokesperson, revealed that they had a 100+ point scoring card, which probably proved useless since so few hamburgers were actually made with beef…?


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