Australian duo works to bring St-Viateur-style bagels to Melbourne
Entrepreneurs took notes through window at St-Viateur Bagels to try to learn technique
Montreal's doughiest ambassador has set up shop in Melbourne thanks to two globetrotting friends and their young business, Mile End Bagels.
Co-owners Michael Fee and Benjamin Vaughan opened their bagel shop about a year and half ago.
Fee said Montrealers visiting Melbourne have told him their bagels are good, which means a lot to him considering how hard the duo worked to perfect their recipe.
They fell in love with the big wood oven at St-Viateur Bagel while travelling in Montreal and decided to bring its style of bagel-making to Australia, but the Montreal institution wasn't interested in sharing its secrets.
"We started with just staring through the window at St-Viateur, watching, watching, watching, trying to figure out the technique in the oven," Fee told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.
"I went across the street, to Café Myriade, to get a coffee, just to break up how creepy it was for them," he added.
Since St-Viateur Bagel wouldn't take him on as an employee, Fee said he ended up working in the U.S. at bakeries that were using a similar oven to the one at St-Viateur Bagel.
After a few burned eyebrows, Fee left the U.S. and returned to Melbourne and opened Mile End Bagels with Vaughan.
To try to make their product as close to what Montrealers enjoy as possible, they hired the same Canadian stonemasons who built the ovens at Fairmont Bagels and St-Viateur Bagels.
Fee is diplomatic when he explains why he was so taken by St-Viateur Bagels, as opposed to Fairmont.
"The only thing that sets them apart is the bagel man," he said, referring to the cartoon logo of St-Viateur Bagels.
With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak