Chef on Call

In 2009 Robert Kauffman and a friend had a novel idea: prepare meals out of a small kitchen in their student apartment and see if they’d get any customers. The key target market was students.

“Virtually through word of mouth alone, we were getting at least 40 orders a day,” Robert recalls. “Within a week we had to find larger space to cook.”

That marked the birth of Chef on Call, now an absolutely thriving business with a storefront location at 3430 Avenue du Parc near McGill University and a delivery system that has gone through the roof. While students have made up the bulk of the clientele, Robert recently welcomed his dad Irwin to the operation and he is reaching out to the corporate sector alongside Gabriel Malbogat. The latter is Robert’s business partner in this successful venture.

Chef on Call

Partner Gabriel Malbogat looks after corporate sales

Asked to comment on his son’s impressive achievement, Irwin smiled: “Can you believe that he never even made a sandwich at home?”

Irwin had a successful run in the garment trade, yet he was more than happy to retire from that business and get involved with Chef on Call. “I am more in the background,” he says. “Corporate sales, operations and inventory. This is Rob and Gabriel’s show.”

I recently visited their headquarters, which they moved into in April 2016. I was very impressed with what I saw. If you want to take advantage of counter service and eat in the restaurant, capacity is 45. This is an upscale version of any fast food spot where you have dined, with some of the distinct décor coming from Union Square Vintage Wood at Carré Union on Royalmount. All of the food is made from fresh ingredients in the kitchen, where I saw Chef Raffi hard at work.  If you are headed to an Alouettes football game, consider this for a pre-game meal.

“We take pride in our homemade recipes and our wide range of selection,” says Robert, a graduate of the John Molson School of Business. “From breading our one of a kind chicken tenders by hand, to mixing our own hamburger recipe, to all of our delicious dipping sauces including salad dressings and pasta sauces, we offer fresh home-style cooking for the health conscious, comfort seekers, and everyone in between.”

Chef on Call

The delicious chicken tenders.

Delivery orders represent the bread and butter of the operation, with drivers available during the day and 15 to 20 at night.

“Given our student clientele, our busiest period is between 2 and 4 am,” Robert notes.

There is a delivery zone map on their website. Chef on Call essentially covers downtown, Westmount, St. Henri, Old Montreal, the Plateau and Mile End. With sufficient notice, large orders can be accommodated elsewhere.

On the day I visited, I was welcomed by Robert and Irwin (whom I have known all of my life). Keeping the books in the back office is mom Sheryl. After we sat down, Robert brought out some food to sample: the crispy and delicious chicken tenders, the Donator (crispy breaded chicken patty with mixed greens, ketchup, mustard and a garlic mayo spread), the Honey Crisp Burger (crispy hand breaded chicken breast, diced fresh red onions, crunchy iceberg lettuce, a slice of American cheese, and their homemade Honey Dijon spread), the Classic Burger (1/3 pound patty topped with iceberg lettuce and melted American cheese and the Chicago Club Wrap (crispy coated seasoned hand breaded chicken breast, fresh romaine lettuce, sliced tomatoes, lined with crispy bacon, and melted Monterrey Jack cheese, with their homemade roasted garlic mayonnaise spread) and crispy curly fries. Naturally we shared this amongst the three of us. Robert also wanted me to try a milkshake, also one of their best sellers. They have 30 different flavour and I sampled the Oreo chocolate.

Chef on Call

The immensely popular Chef On Call

A little but more about the Donator Burger.  For every one sold, Chef on Call will donate $2 to a different charity each month. Malbogat says they plan to raise more than $10,000 in 2017. “The momentum carried over from 2016 will help us reach our goal in 2017” says Malbogat.

The Donator initiative was first started in 2015 and since that time it has assisted over 20 different local charities/non-profit organizations. In the meantime, more and more companies are becoming regular customers for catering jobs. Clients already include Air Transat, Evenko, Just for Laughs, CIBC, RBC, McGill, Concordia and the major local hospitals, just to name a few.

The menu also includes other kinds of wraps, hot dogs, pastas, salads, poutines and vegetarian options.

This concept is a good one and expansion to other cities, starting with Toronto, could be around the corner.

Operating hours are 11 am to 2 am Sundays to Wednesday and 11 am to 4 am Thursday to Saturday. For more information, log on to or call 514-844-2044.

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