To shine a light on Canada’s most incredible weekend destinations, we partnered with Chevrolet to create the Blazer Index, an exclusive lineup of our favourite luxury experiences. Charlie’s Burgers is just one of these essential events for when you’ve regained a sense of freedom in your life and you’re ready to explore the absolute best our country has to offer.
A series of private dining events held at unusual locations where high-profile chefs serve unique, memorable feasts? After 10 years of hosting pop-up dinners, Charlie’s Burgers continues to be one of the most intriguing and decadent gastronomic experiences in Canada—and the only way to get a much-coveted ticket is by subscribing to the company’s email list via its no-frills website.
“Charlie’s Burgers is essentially a dinner series where we bring in chefs from some of the top restaurants around the world to Toronto, and let them basically execute any menu they want,” says founder Franco Stalteri. “We pair it up with some great wines that we bring in from different producers around the world and have the dinner in an unusual or interesting venue or spot around the city and make a great night of it.”
Since 2009, Charlie’s Burgers has been hosting lively award-winning dinners prepared by talented Canadian and internationally renowned chefs in secret Toronto locales such as an underground movie theatre. The events often sell out within 10 minutes, according to Stalteri, and Mark McEwan, Fergus Henderson, Patrick Kriss, and Rob Gentile are just a few of the high-profile talents that have participated over the years. “We’ve done chefs from every corner of the globe, from Michelin-star restaurants to Relais & Châteaux restaurants to World’s 50 Best restaurants,” says Stalteri.
Each pop-up has a distinctive theme and a different location, and the guest chefs determine the menu. “The concept is a no-limit situation where the chefs are only bound by their imagination of what they want to do in terms of the venue,” says Stalteri. A few years ago, for example, an ambitious all-Canada menu was served in an A-Z “alphabet scenario” by chefs from Newfoundland’s Fogo Island Inn and Tofino’s Wolf in the Fog restaurant. “It was really interesting to have the farthest east restaurant in Canada and the farthest west restaurant in Canada doing a dinner together here,” says Stalteri.
When you sign up for a Charlie’s Burgers dinner, you could be enjoying Fiorentina steaks prepared by Dario Cecchini, one of the top butchers in the world, or an adventurous, all-Arctic menu put together by the private chef for the Governor General of Canada. For a recent pop-up with the crew from Punk Royale in Copenhagen and Stockholm, the shopping list included two kilos of caviar, a kilo of truffles, foie gras, 70 lobsters, 150 whole scallops in the shell, and 150 langoustines. Table-side flambéing and smoke machines were used in the high-energy service, and each five-snack, seven-course dinner in the two-night event was served in just two hours.
A culinary feast by a high-profile chef, interesting and fine wine offerings, an unexpected, top-secret location—these are the dynamic elements that come together at each Charlie’s Burgers dinner to create a memorable night that you won’t soon forget.