FOUNDER OF CHARLIE'S BURGERS
I met Franco while attending a Charlie's Burgers dinner a few years ago. Despite consuming each of the wine pairings offered that night, I remember it clearly. I was completely in awe of every aspect of the experience. From the delicious food and drink to the incredible
energy of everyone present, nothing went untouched by the passion that seemed to float through the room. Afterwards, I typed up an email to Charlie himself - Franco Stalteri, and offered to shoot future dinners in hopes of getting to be a part of the experience again in whatever way possible. Years later, we are still in touch, and I was delighted when Franco agreed to catch up and have me check out the thriving community garden he recently brought to life alongside Pilsner Urquell. Introducing: the most
interesting man in the world...
Describe what brought you to what you're doing now.
I think I got to what I’m doing now mostly through chance and circumstance and just following my passion. When I started, there was no real clear cut plan or direction, and through fumbling and learning along the way, Charlie's Burgers eventually evolved into what it is now.
Let's talk about that. What has Charlie's Burgers become?
Charlie's Burgers has become a few different things over the years. At it's core, it still is exactly what it was when we started, which is a series of dinners with chefs from some of the top restaurants in the world. The premise is that there are no limits in terms of what kind of menu the chefs can put together. We’ve always imported most of the wines that we serve at our dinners, and that gradually became the Charlie's Burgers Wine Program, which is a monthly wine delivery service across Ontario where we send our members a different case of wine from a unique producer from somewhere in the world every month. We also send a full write up on the producer, why we think they're interesting, it's bio, tasting notes on the wines, and we feature two different restaurants every month where our members are able to take the wine that we send them and go have dinner or lunch and not pay corkage. Lately, we've been collaborating with Cheese Boutique by having them select different cheeses and items that go with the wines every month. If people want to buy them, they can email the owner Afrim, and he takes care of them directly. He’s basically the youngest cheese master in the world, so it’s kind of exciting that they get to deal with him personally.