Flathead Valley, MT: Gourmet Burgers Hit the Street
French-trained chef starting mobile Flathead Burger Co.
In cities like Los Angeles and Portland, high-level gourmet chefs are carving out niches in the mobile food market. Richard Cannady sees no reason why he can’t do the same here in the Flathead, while staying true to his French-trained culinary leanings and continuing his pursuit of the perfect burger.
Cannady, the manager and chef at Bullman’s Wood Fired Pizza in Kalispell, is preparing to launch the Flathead Burger Co. with his business partner David Anderson. The truck, purchased from Los Angeles, is ready to go, emblazoned with a logo and decked out with a full kitchen.
As of June 2, Cannady was working with the Flathead City-County Health Department preparing to get his truck up and running within the next couple of weeks.
“I’ve been working on this whole concept for three years,” Cannady said.
The truck itself is an important part of Cannady’s vision. It was previously used for a Los Angeles meals-on-wheels program called “Cart for a Cause” in which celebrity chefs would cook food for charity. Cannady said many notable chefs used the vehicle, including Wolfgang Puck, which is a testament to its capabilities as a mobile kitchen.
“There’s a lot of history behind it,” Cannady said. “I fell in love with that truck.”
Once Flathead Burger Co. gets full clearance, Cannady plans to be out six days a week – Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m. – in a variety of locations throughout the Flathead, primarily based in Kalispell with a focus on parking lots. He will also attend special events such as arts and crafts festivals.
The menu has 15 burgers plus hot dogs and fries, though additions such as salads may come with time, Cannady said. Everything will be made from scratch. The burgers will be ground down from cuts of beef and the hot dogs will be made from beef and pork – none of the “nasty” stuff often associated with hot dogs, he said.
“We’ll buy local as much as we can,” Cannady said.
The fries will be cut in house and the dipping sauces will be freshly made. One of the burgers is vegetarian black bean and another is seafood, to be made from salmon or tuna. The beef burgers will be crafted to meet Cannady’s perfectionist tastes, which his partner Anderson said bodes well for customers.
“He has what he thinks is the perfect burger,” Anderson said.
While Cannady will be heavily involved in food preparation for Flathead Burger Co., he also will continue his duties as manager of Bullman’s. When he has days off from Bullman’s, he’ll be at the truck.
“I’ve hired some good local cooks to run it,” he said.
Cannady has traveled across the world expanding his culinary prowess and spent a year training in France. And no matter where he goes, he yearns for burgers. He is a connoisseur of the “big, juicy, sloppy burger.”
“Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve eaten burgers – I’ve kind of gathered ideas from all over the place,” he said.
“I’ve eaten burgers all my life,” he added, “and when you get a really good one, it’s amazing.”
Flathead Burger Co. can be found on Facebook and will eventually have a Twitter page. Weekly schedules and other information will be posted.
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