What’s more inspiring than a delicious hamburger, really?
Sorry, vegetarians, but there’s no substitute for a juicy triple-A grade burger on a soft, fresh kaiser bun (sorry, Celiac sufferers), topped with cheese (sorry, lactards), bacon (sorry, Jews and Muslims) and some sautéed mushrooms and onions (I’m not sorry).
And Na’eem Adam feels the same. That’s why he dreamt up Burger Week, which marks its first edition Sept. 1–7 by sending off denizens of hungry Montrealers to about 30 or so burger-flippin’ joints.
Inspired by other cities’ burger weeks, but decidedly uninspired by the ho-hum presentation and lack of dynamism of said burger weeks (particularly online), he set to work making Montreal’s first the best one out there.
“I wanted to do something a thousand times more delicious,” says the 29-year-old Montreal native.
Part of the allure is the week’s social media component — the website’s appearance and functionality is very user-friendly. He and his small team also drew people in with their 8-bit animation video explaining Burger Week:
It’s pretty simple to participate via social media — just go to a participating restaurant, ask for their Burger Week special (there are three price points: $5, $10, $15), take your burger’s picture, devour it and then vote on whether it was delicious or not by giving it a thumbs up or thumbs down on the site. By doing so, participants collect points.
“So if, for example, you go to Comptoir 21, you take a photo, put it on Facebook — you acquire points, and these points allow you to buy things from our online store, and also enter you into the grand prize draw,” Adam says.
If you’re the kind of person who shakes their head at people taking pictures of their food, you may be dismayed by the concept of Burger Week. But for Adam, an avid foodie who also blogs over at Méchant Mangeur, the phenomenon has changed the way people eat.
“Food, especially here in Montreal, has become more than just an experience that people have with their senses. It’s become a very sharing thing. People want to share where they’re going — it’s part of the food experience now,” Adam says.
But, really, it’s not about taking pictures of your food to make you feel a little less sad and alone. For Adam, going out to eat is becoming a more social event than just stuffing a pair of steamies in your face and carrying on about your day.
“I like the cultural aspect around food. Sure, I like to eat, taste different things, but the fact that it brings people together [is more important],” he says.
So what makes a tasty burger, in Adam’s esteemed opinion? He shuns these newfangled hamburgers with everything but the kitchen sink on them, and opts for a well-made classic cheeseburger instead — delicious bread, a juicy patty and good cheese are instrumental to pleasing his palate (and tummy).
By the end of the week, you’ll have to roll him through the finish line at the Burger Week run, happening on Sept. 6, an event being held to let people know you can’t just eat hamburgers all the time. Burger Week is also partnering with the Montreal Canadiens’ Children’s Foundation, with some of the proceeds going toward the charitable organization to help promote healthy lifestyles in children.
And if burgers seem like a point of pride for most restaurateurs and amateur chefs, we can only imagine the stiff competition at Adam’s Poutine Week coming up this winter.
Yes, Poutine Week. Get your sporks ready, people! ■
Montreal Burger Week happens Sept. 1–7 all around Montreal. Visit their website for information on how to participate.