Canada’s 100 Best - - On The Pass -

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.



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