Curious about the back story behind this brand? Take a read...
Paul’s Gourmet Burgers keeps on going places, so why not hop on the social media train and follow the smoky scent of Paul’s show-stopping, one-of-a-kind burgers.
It can be said the secret to Paul’s success is the community that has rallied to support him and stand by him, from day one; but the secret to his iconic burgers that steal the show at his pop-up burger gigs, has been ten years in the making.
While Paul’s Gourmet Burgers started as a desperate attempt to supplement income after Paul’s graphic and web design business took a knock during Covid-19, he feels like the last few years he’s been preparing for this venture without even knowing it.
A big foodie, who has been cooking for the past 15 years, Paul became transfixed with the potential that a burger had to be more than just a burger after he dined at a restaurant in Durban North and tasted a burger that, literally, changed his life.
“I was blown away at how good a burger could taste. I left that restaurant inspired to do research on the craft of making burgers and what goes into making the tastiest burger.”
That first revolutionary encounter with what a burger could be, was ten years ago. Since then, Paul has gotten the art of burger making down to a fine science.
His diligent experimenting developed into a winning recipe, that, until a few years ago, was only sampled by his close friends and family. Paul shrugged off all encouragement from friends that he should open a restaurant, believing that if he made food his work, he’d lose the passion he shared for it, until lockdown hit and a steady decline in his graphic design business forced him to reconsider capitalising on his burger craft.
“I knew I had a product to sell, I just had no idea how to get it out to the public with hardly any capital. Then a friend gave me the idea of a pre-order pop-up burger stall and that became the solution to taking my burger to the street.”
Paul’s first pop-up was quite literally, on the street, stationed on the corner of Old Howick Road, just below Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine.
“I wrote [Jackie Cameron] a letter, out of courtesy, just to make sure it wouldn’t be a conflict of interest, and she responded with an order. Jackie Cameron attended my first pop-up. I was literally terrified,” Paul recalled. He sold around 70 burgers at his first event in February 2021.
In just over a year, the order numbers and Facebook followers grew, with some of his posts reaching over 40 000 views. And his clients follow him to wherever he announces that Paul’s Gourmet Burgers will be next.
So far, Paul’s Gourmet Burgers has frequented the Station Stop Coffee Shop and the Lions River Craft Brewery, and sometimes, his pop-ups are even accompanied with live music from local artists, to really create the vibe. More recently, he can be found at certain local markets around Pietermaritzburg and the KZN Midlands.
It’s been a real journey of community for Paul, who attributes his success to his friends and community who rallied around his passion. From his friends who volunteered their time, all for the price of a free burger, to man the stands at the pop-ups, to even local restaurateurs, like Jackie Cameron, Garlinton Bistro owners Stephanie Szecsei & Alex Poltera, and Artisan owner Leandra Carcary, who also assisted Paul with everything from basic industry tips and tricks, recipe tweaks and sourcing suppliers.
Similarly, it’s the sense of community that ignites Paul’s passion for cooking and sharing his creations.
“Food brings people together. Besides the fun and creativity of playing with flavours and combinations, and make no mistake, I absolutely love this part of cooking, but my biggest joy has to be the wonder of seeing people coming together and enjoying the heart that I’ve put into my food. It’s very personal, and deeply gratifying.”
Inspired by some of his favourite dishes Paul loves to cook, Paul’s Gourmet Burgers are nothing like any burger you’ve ever encountered. Take for instance, the Oriental Fusion Burger, which is basically a Green Thai Chicken Curry on a burger, one of his most popular orders, featuring a jasmine rice hash brown in between two chicken pieces, with a Thai sauce to compliment the flavour profile.
So be sure to keep a look out for his next event by following Paul’s Gourmet Burgers on Facebook and Instagram (@paulsgourmetburgers).
*Copy based off of article written by Jade le Roux for The Hilton Newspaper.