Nine years ago, two young Montrealers had a bright idea – gourmet food, at reasonable prices, delivered right to your door. Hungry students have been rejoicing ever since.
Rob Kaufman was studying at Concordia when he got the idea that would eventually become Chef on Call. With no culinary skills of his own, he called up a Cordon Bleu-trained friend to come up with a menu.
Soon, he had partnered up with friend Gabriel Malbogat and the first deliveries to McGill and Concordia students began.
“I gave the menu to a bunch of people downtown and it just started spreading like wildfire,” said Kaufman.
The first few days were lean and not without risk.
“When we first started out, we took our student loans and credit card debt and took a dive into the deep end,” said Malbogat.
The business grew quickly – the pair found themselves outgrowing kitchens before finally opening a restaurant on Park Ave. to keep up with demand.
“Our burger and our chicken tenders are our most popular, but we have a wide range of stuff, from salads to pastas,” said Kaufman.
After so much success, Chef on Call’s leaders said they want to give back. They’ve begun a work-study program for teens with special needs at Summit School. The students learn everything from cooking and food prep to taking orders from customers.
“I enjoy working in the back with Chef Raffi,” said student Andrew Kovaks. “When he tells me what to do, either the cookie dough or the baking, I pretty much just get the job done. Once it’s done, I’m ready for the next task.”
Having conquered the hearts and stomachs of Montreal’s student population, the duo has their eyes on another goal. In 2018, they plan to expand into Ontario.