Among a bounty of bagels, Glen Spence’s recipe stands out
By: Elizabeth Tomaras – mtltimes.ca
Glen Spence knows bagels. With 21 years of working experience in the kitchens of iconic Montreal bagel shops, opening his own shop was an easy decision. Not only did Spence like the idea of being his own boss, but he thinks the art of creating a fresh, traditional Montreal-style bagel has been lost. So begins the story of M.T.L. Bagel.
Spence opened M.T.L Bagel in May 2014 in Côte-Saint-Luc. He creates what he calls “breakfast bagels” by using the original recipe used in the early days, when bagels were popularized in the city. Perfectly round, puffy and cooked in a wood-burning oven, Spence still makes them as he was taught two decades ago.
“The quality of bagels [today is] not what it used to be when they started out,” Spence says. “Most bagel shops mass produce so the quality is gone.” He emphasizes that he uses real, fresh ingredients, rather than liquids and powders which have become the norm among other bakeries. As the cost of ingredients increases, “a lot of these places have switched to cheaper alternatives,” which do not always yield the best bagel.
“Go to your local bagel shop and get a dozen bagels and then come get a dozen from M.T.L. Bagel. Have your kids tell you which one they like,” he says, confident his will ace the taste test.
Spence has created 11 bagel varieties with the traditional recipe. There are classics like multigrain, healthy options with reduced sugar, as well as pumpernickel, coconut, and carrot bagels for those willing to try something different. Additionally, Spence makes sandwiches with his bagels, the most popular being smoked salmon and the Bagel Matin, topped with egg and bacon. Turkey and the vegetarian-friendly TLC bagels are also available, and two Montreal staples collide with his smoked meat bagel.
“The goal is to have an M.T.L Bagel cafe in which we specialize good sandwiches,” says Spence about the future of his shop. His bagels are currently also found in Café Depots and Frutta Si grocery store in LaSalle.
M.T.L. Bagel is located at 5452 Westminster. Opening hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.