Can you judge a chef by their burger?
If I owned a restaurant I'd ask all potential chef applicants to make me a burger. It seems simple. The burger is at its core a simple food, some ground meat, perhaps cheese, dressings and veggies.
Seems simple but in practice finesse is required to move the ingredients from individual solo performances to a choreographed culinary masterpiece.
So I'm always interested in trying a burger from a celebrity chef. Yes a burger is my rating system, screw the fancy shamncy stuff just show me your burger. Dale MacKay won top chef Canada and shortly thereafter opened the acclaimed Ensemble. I liked it, it was good, but I’m not going to go as far as Van Mags, Silver Medal, for best new Restaurants 2012.
Etap, Dales second opening, is a downscaled casual bar like eatery with burgers. OK, now we really have a test of his cooking chops.
The Verdict: Near perfect execution with no wow factor.
Perplexing I know, a burger well assembled with good ingredients and yet lacking that little something something that elevates good to extraordinary.
Don’t ask me how to improve this burger, I have no idea, everything is there but sadly it comes of as just good. I suppose it’s like the “IT” factor for actors, some just got “IT” and some just don’t.
Celebrity burgers in Vancouver:
Hawksworth: Van Mags Best New Restaurant of the Year. Better then good but not great.
Fennie, used to have the best burger in town at the old Fennies. Not so much at Cactus Club.
Daniel Boulud made such a good burger at DB Moderne Bistro that they had to close it down. Wasn’t Dale the chef there?