Toronto food cart owner selling pastrami sandwiches targeting a diverse industry – Toronto

Stopping at a food cart in Toronto usually means grabbing a hot dog, maybe fries or a burger, but now you can grab a pastrami sandwich too.

And not just any pastrami sandwich, this week’s special features blueberries and costs just five bucks.

“There’s an art to eating, there’s an expression to sharing it with other people,” Alexander said. Dalgliesh-Switzerland, owner of Swizzers. “Pastrami, the reason was simple because I love it.”

The response has been overwhelming with various sandwiches being sold every day over their three month long history. When Global News interviewed Dalgleish-Switzer on Wednesday, the sandwiches were gone within an hour.

“The response has been overwhelming, I thought I was making a living, but I can’t keep up with the demand. It gives me the confidence to put blueberries on it,” he said with a laugh.

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In May, the 35-year-old gave up working at a traditional restaurant after 18 years to open his own business. He had thought about it about eight years ago, but it didn’t seem right to him at the time, but he wanted to be able to connect with the people he nurtured.

“You can’t do that when you’re working with a brigade or when you have investors or owners who don’t agree with the chief. Infrastructure can inhibit a chef’s creativity,” he said.

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Dalgliesh-Switzer is also Jewish, so it was important to him to be able to make pastrami sandwiches, like the classic with just mustard or new-age versions of the sandwich.

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“You share the culture. It sounds hokey, but it’s important,” he said.

While it’s endearing to be able to be creative and cook the dishes he cares about, there are simpler reasons, such as low wages and long hours, that led him to seek an exit from the industry. traditional catering industry.

“It’s the worst job without pay. I’m tired of the excuse that it’s a labor of love and that’s why you do it, which is true, but I have to pay rent,” Dalgliesh-Switzer said. “We don’t pay our kitchen staff, we have them work in shreds and then hope our customers will pay us. This is why there is a shortage of cooks.

While the costs aren’t exorbitant, it’s the bureaucracy that can weigh you down, according to Dalgliesh-Switzer. That’s the reason he didn’t open a cart years ago. This time around, he has all the licenses and vendor permits to operate on private property and can apply for a sidewalk license, but can’t plan to move downtown given there’s a moratorium on food carts, in place since 2002.

“The authorization to sell in the streets had not been given for twenty years. I was fighting the city on that for exactly one year,” he said. “I didn’t understand.”

Alexander Dalgliesh-Switzer, owner of Switzers, a food cart in Toronto selling pastrami sandwiches.

Ahmar Khan / World News

Despite the financial reasons for opening the cart, Dalgliesh-Switzer thinks it’s one of the best ways to continue working in the industry and take control of what he cooks.

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“Carts are really the only way for a lot of cooks to have their business, not have a boss, earn a living and not have to work 60 hours a week,” he said.

But it doesn’t stop there, the pastrami-loving Jewish chef wants more of his colleagues in the industry to own and take ownership. He said start-up costs for the whole business were around $8,000.

“I want there to be more carts, so hopefully that’s a message and shows people that this is a place for you as a cook,” he said.

Although he ultimately wants to move around the city more freely and is fed up with the bureaucracy, Dalgleish-Switzer tells his fellow cooks to come to his neighborhood, insisting that healthy competition will breed great affordable food.

“Sitting next to me, I’m already selling in a few hours, I want competition,” he said.

And plans are already underway to help other chefs secure the carts and set up the sale of different foods like Vietnamese subs, banh mi and other commonly sold street foods.

“I’ve talked to a bunch of them already, build carts, start carts, start a food cart guild,” he said. “

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