Get to know a Chef: Shant Mardirosian, Burger's Priest
It's safe to say Burger's Priest owner Shant Mardirosian has converted an impressive wave of burger fanatics. His no-fuss, Californian style patty brings customers in droves, topping multiple best-of lists this past year and even having a hymnal dedicated to its name. Here, he easily responds to recent criticism about his new uptown spot, but remains mum on the status of the much anticipated third location.
Did you always want to be a chef?
Well, that's based on the assumption that I am a chef - I'm not. I'm a waiter that knows how to make a hamburger.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
What was your first restaurant job?
My first restaurant job was at Planet Hollywood.
Why do you like burgers so much?
I don't know if I necessarily like them so much; I just felt like it was something that could be improved upon in the city. And it's something that is just simple and I like it, so I just made it.
What do you like on your burger?
Lettuce, onion and pickle.
What do you like to eat when you're not eating burgers?
I like to eat the Bigoli pasta at Buca.
What's something that should never be on a burger?
Aside from you, who makes the best burger in the city?
I would say Mark McEwan at Bymark. Just because it follows really simple principles of really good beef, loosely packed and lightly seasoned.
Joanne Kates called your new location an "unholy disappointment" yet you have line-ups out the door. Do restaurant critics matter anymore?
No, I don't think they do. We broke records at both stores regardless. On the day that we came out we broke records at both stores, so that shows.
When and where are you launching location #3?
I don't know, I honestly don't. I'm not lying, I'm trying my hardest to get this one running as soon as I can, but I'm having some problems. But once I get this one going then it could be six months, it could be a year. And it will probably go downtown.
Would you prefer to franchise or keep Burger's Priest company owned?
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
Most underrated ingredient? Pickles
Best culinary tool? Spatula
David Chang or Daniel Boulud? I don't know who any of those people are.
McDonalds or Burger King? McDonalds
Favourite Toronto restaurant? Buca
What would people be surprised to find in your fridge? Nothing. My fridge is empty.
What's one dish you can't live without? Spaghetti
What's one food trend that needs to end? Shawarma
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Photos by Natta Summerky