Charlie’s Burgers: Toronto’s Anti-Restaurant

To dine at Charlie’s Burgers, a new underground anti-restaurant with no fixed address and a rotating cast of star chefs, customers need to apply online for an invitation. The elusive founder – believed by some to be Jamie Kennedy’s sommelier, Jamie Drummond (pictured left, with Susur Lee, at a recent Charlie’s Burgers dinner) – answered our questions via email.

Why start an anti-restaurant? What’s wrong with restaurants?
I am not anti or against restaurants. But chefs are typically bound by a specific menu, culinary style, and set of food and labour costs as well as their clientele’s taste. I wanted to remove these variables and get down to pure creativity.

What is your culinary vision?
There is no culinary vision per se. We give each chef and sommelier free reign. Ergo, the dining experience is unique every time.

Tell me about your dinner on April 26, prepared by Langdon Hall chef Victor DeGuzman.
His ingredients were of unparalleled quality: Maple syrup made at Langdon Hall, butter made by his pastry chef, Itoham Kobe beef from Japan. My staff were like kids in a candy store watching him sear a $2,500 whole Kobe Striploin. And we had an unbelievable venue: Billy Jamieson’s loft/museum, which is filled with oddities, cultural artifacts and tribal art.

And you had a special guest?
Susur Lee was with us. And yes – we asked him if he would put together a menu.

How can folks get invited to a dinner?
Just because you read about Charlie’s Burgers doesn’t mean you can attend. It’s still my sandbox. For less info visit www.charliesburgers.ca.

Image courtesy of nondoctor.

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