Student Life

You’ll eat your heart out at YUL-EAT

The gourmand event of the season is rolling into town

Not quite ready for the summer to end? Looking for one last weekend of Montreal’s iconic festival scene? This weekend, Sept. 5 and 6, YUL-EAT aims to finish the summer with a bang.

La Société culturelle Les Survenants in conjunction with L’Association des Restaurateurs de Rue du Quebec are staging the culinary finale of the summer. The event will take place at l’Esplanade Financière Sun Life, directly outside of Pie-IX metro station.

Photo by Nathalie Laflamme

The event was created to increase awareness of the amount of food continuously wasted in Quebec and to reduce it. Organizers hope that innovations grounded within our unique Quebecois culture and culinary resources may be the solution.

Throughout the weekend, a variety of events will be offered. Competitions will be held between top-tier Quebecois chefs, special culinary products from Quebec will be presented, and a large cookbook sale and signing will be held. All these events will be open to the public, with no entrance fee.

The festivities will begin with the usual First Fridays assembling of Montreal food trucks at 4 p.m., and will continue into the wee hours with an opening night party. Saturday’s program kicks off with an epicurean book fair before brunch at 11 a.m., followed by a chefs “olympics” and culminating in a garden party starting at 7:30 p.m.

With a focus on Quebecois food culture, it may be unsurprising that all events will be held exclusively for a francophone audience. Although a potential hindrance for those who do not understand French, there are many activities geared to a larger audience.

Free concerts will be taking place all weekend as part of the festival as well as an assembly of all the food trucks in Montreal. Although the food trucks are no stranger to the Esplanade, this event is special due to it being one of the last of the summer. Whenever the food trucks come together, a party atmosphere quickly follows. With the addition of live music, the event will surely take on the unique Montreal flavour that we’ve come to expect from our summertime festivals.

Whether interested in the latest gourmand innovation, trying new foods or just getting out one last time before hitting the books, YUL-EAT promises to be the place to be.

For more information visit (French only)


Opinions: Montrealers have a case of upset pockets

The big buzz of the summer seems to have sizzled out prematurely. When news of the 66-year ban on food trucks being lifted broke, people were utterly overjoyed. Now, months after the project has begun, the buzz is gone. Customers are criticizing prices, selection and intent of the project. Some might be looking too far into it and are forgetting that we are only talking about food. How can more food be bad?

Gourmand Vagabond food truck in downtown Montreal. Photo by Keith Race.

For foodies, the diversity of options is fantastic. You can get anything from butter chicken at Guru to lobster rolls at Lucille’s Seafood Company. Since the trucks rotate stops, you don’t have to travel to different locations to try them all.

The project also gives fine dining a fast-food element. When you just want to grab a delicious, unprocessed meal and go, the options are slim. With the food trucks, you’re able to eat fast but not in the traditional fast food way. Instead of going to the Au Pied du Cochon restaurant, people can visit the food truck on their breaks and eat foie gras poutine while walking to their next class.

Gourmand Vagabond food truck prices. Photo by Keith Race.

Those saying the prices are higher than expected seem to have missed the memo; the intent is to provide Montrealers with high-quality food, so a higher price tag should be expected.  According to a report by The Gazette, the city requires the food trucks to have “creative and original [food], present an added value to city’s gastronomic landscape, stand out from the fast-food already on offer downtown, and use local products.”

Maybe critics are also unaware of how much a typical lunch meal costs these days. A tandoori chicken pita can put you back $9 at Phoenix 1 but a Big Mac trio is roughly the same price, if not more. If you want a $2 regular hot dog, La Belle Province restaurants are accessible on every third street corner.

Well-known restaurants and food businesses, such as St-Viateur Bagel, have a name for themselves and therefore already have a clientele. Which is perhaps why the Quebec government did not issue permits to any non-established restaurants. Some people see the established-business requirement as a slap in the face to citizens who want to make a living in the food business, but don’t have the means to open a restaurant.  However, in reality, food trucks are not a viable way to make a living. The Gazette reported that even successful restaurant owners rarely have success with their food truck version. For example, owner of Grumman 78, Marc-André Leclerc, says he has not yet made a profit off his food truck, while his restaurant of the same name made more than $1 million last year.

The project is supposed to be something different and fun. It’s great to be able to order waffles and gourmet grilled cheese on a street corner. This is just the start so there’s bound to be a few kinks. Why is having more food choice making some people so mad? It’s simple – if people don’t like the idea of food trucks, then they shouldn’t order from them.

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