Our intrepid jury panel braved a monsoon to judge food cart design. What we found was nothing less than liquid gold
The sky looked like this when we arrived at The Stop’s annual Night Market:
And then this happened:
No matter. As the wind picked up and the rain dropped like water balloons, spirits stayed high, with chefs whooping and hollering away as the food cooked and the crowd streamed in. Once it let up, we got back to work.
With the expertise from architect Janna Levitt, restaurant designer/retailer Jason Stroud, and entrepreneur/industrial designer Joshua Brasse, Designlines judged 34 carts. We were there to award Most Creative – the criteria being imaginative material use, inventiveness and playfulness; Big Picture – carts best exemplifying The Stop’s initiatives and messaging, including sustainability, community, education and wellness; and lastly Best in Show – we considered overall excellence in the other two categories, plus tip-top form and function, and restaurant crowd–readiness. The ruling, after much deliberation, is this:
The Winner: Brothers Dressler’s cart for Splendido. Atop its base – a repurposed drafting table attached to serious load-bearing wheels – was a gorgeous, butcher’s block-like slab of live edge wood. Above this was a retractable awning, which was put to good use. Judges’ comments: excellent choice of materials; superb craftsmanship.
Honourable Mentions go to Studio Eichhornchen’s set-up for The Harbord Room (below) and The Bullcycle Club’s cart built for Carmen. Judges’ comments: We loved the free-spirited feel of Studio Eichhornchen’s stack of left-intact, old-timey dining chairs. And The Bullcycle Club brilliantly reconfigured discarded bike parts for the beef-heavy, Iberian restaurant. The leather seats and handlebars are fashioned into “steer heads” – a seemingly effortless gesture that is right on brand.
The Winner: Choosing JSL’s cart for The Stop was a no-brainer. Clad in bands of wood, each one listed, in burned perfection, a statistic or profile description of the individuals and communities that rely on The Stop’s services. Judges’ comments: Thought-provoking and beautifully executed.
Honourable Mentions go to Falco Collaboration for its SupiCucu creation, and to Deconstruct’s cart built for The Gabardine (below). Judges’ comments: Falco’s structure was crafted from 360 upcycled paper tubes, the majority of which are planted with herbs ready for picking and sprinkling over the Latin American takeout. There was not a simpler cart on site than Deconstruct’s – but therein lies its brilliance. It’s prismatic shape, made of galvanized steel lit with LED strips, is not only functional but alludes to The Stop’s transparency.
Best in Show
The Winner: The Galette Girls’ cart by Design Build Grow (below). Judges’ comments: In terms of aesthetics, execution, function, on-brand messaging – and the fact that we all could picture this structure rolling out as a standalone business – DBG takes it.
Honourable Mentions go to Patricia Joong’s cart built for The Emerson in association with bikeSauce, and Discreet/Discrete’s structure for Chantecler. Judges’ comments: The Emerson’s shopping cart/bicycle hybrid is an incredibly smart and appropriate use materials. This moveable kitchen – with pantry – was built to take a beating and the signage, made of woven inner tubes, is a nice touch. The overall look over at Chantecler’s cart – painted out in all black, with fold-away chalkboard signs and a striped canopy – is whimsical class. We loved the beautiful slab countertop and the vintage push cart.
Congratulations to all winners and runners-up – to everyone in fact, that participated last night. Aside from how well the carts stood up to the monsoon, we were particularly impressed with the high spirits and stick-to-it-iveness of the chefs, and the troopers that showed up in DIY raincoats, on time no less, to support and indulge.
Don’t forget that you can judge, too, and WIN a first edition, designed-in-Toronto Lethal Taco by Mindzai. Simply Tweet a photo of your favourite food cart at The Stop’s Night Market with the hashtag #DLTacoStop by midnight, Wednesday June 18.