EAT OR BE EATEN
No, it’s not just for McGill and UQAM students, but the new veggie-phile cafeteria in the heart of downtown Montreal does have a rather rabid following among the university set. And why not: fuelling those growing brains with nutrient-packed raw foods seems more like a mission than a business model. But what a model it is. Foodchain comes from the interstellar minds of Charles-Antoine Crête and Cheryl Johnson of Montreal Plaza, baker Jeffrey Finkelstein, designer Zébulon Perron and general manager Jean-François Saine. This team aims to reinvent fast food, and the concept really is simplicity at its best: choose from eight varieties of vegetable-based “bowls,” add an element of “crunch”—mixes of nuts, seeds, etc.—and a dressing, then put the lid on and shake it like you mean it. There’s no service, just a cash register and a counter, behind which you may observe several staffers working a line of Robot Coupe food processors as they slice, dice and chop ingredients à la minute. A genius-level concept, and about as clean and efficient as it gets: no ovens, no stoves, no vent hoods. Easy prep with low food costs and little waste. And everything in the place is recyclable, too—how’s that for contributing to the food chain? Or, even better, an easy-to-replicate model that’s sure to be coming soon to your neighbourhood. —D.S.
CRÊTE AND JOHNSON (CENTRE) WITH THEIR FOODCHAIN PARTNERS