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November 15, 2023

In simplicity and technique, Majid Amoorpour finds success

The chef/owner of Everyday Market in Belmont picked up knowledge around the world

by Ebony Morman

Chef Majid Amoorpour, owner of The Everyday Market in Belmont, which will expand to Charlotte next year. Photo courtesy

Majid Amoorpour, pastry chef and owner of The Everyday Market, was 13 years old when his family moved to Sweden from Iran. Once he graduated from high school, he tried his hand at art school for a few years before finding his way into part-time work in the kitchen, washing dishes and peeling potatoes and onions as a 20-year-old. As Amoorpour gained more responsibility, he also discovered a passion for Swedish and European cuisine. “I got interested in sauces, how food came together, and the whole organization and the techniques,” he says.

It was a starting point for Amoorpour, who was among a list of chefs and farmers celebrated at the Founders Feast earlier this month for their contributions to pioneering Charlotte’s restaurant scene. Those European experiences inspired him to move to the United States in 1999 and he landed his first job in baking and pastry in Charlotte at Dean & DeLuca just as the shop was opening. However, when he arrived, he realized the city’s food scene was lacking the techniques and influences utilized in Europe. At Dean & DeLuca, Amoorpour started a bread program under head baker Scott Gilbert, honing his pastry expertise with croissants and items such as scones, cookies, and brownies.

As a life-long learner, he wanted to progress in his pastry skills, and he found the opportunity to do so in his role as pastry chef at Noble’s Restaurant for a few years, then by working at restaurants in Chicago and in the United Kingdom, where he spent about a year at each. In 2006, he returned to Charlotte, a lot wiser.

“It didn’t matter where I went, I kept landing back in Charlotte, because I built a connection here at an early age,” he says.

With a Charlotte culinary resume that also included work at Café Monte, Amoorpour was more than ready for another adventure. It came in the form of a new restaurant, Bistro La Bon, which opened in 2010 in Plaza Midwood. As part owner, he learned how much work it takes to open and operate a restaurant. Still, he produced affordable, tasty food and used techniques that he learned overseas and other places, he says, and the restaurant became a fine dining destination in Charlotte.

After spending five years operating Bistro La Bon, and recognizing a shift in the industry even prior to the pandemic, he was in search of something different. “I needed something that was less complicated, more manageable, and more affordable,” he says. “I thought if I can go back and think about what I want to do again, it will be baking, pastry, and maybe some sandwiches, just some simple stuff that I like to do on a daily basis.”

The Everyday Market offers classic pastries along with a variety of sandwiches and quiches. TM Petaccia/UP

His new vision included a couple of things: Amoorpour would utilize a production kitchen only, not a line kitchen; limited hours of operation; and the focal point would be a beautiful showcase of made-from-scratch, European inspired desserts, pastries, and sandwiches. With wisdom gleaned from his time in Europe and stateside experiences, Amoorpour opened the community-focused Everyday Market in downtown Belmont in January 2020. Since then, patrons have been able to enjoy fresh-made, simple food. You won’t find a deep fryer in the kitchen, and the housemade bread, such as focaccia, sour dough, and brioche to name a few, has only four ingredients: water, flour, yeast, and salt. Instead of having breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, there’s one daily menu that is served all day. When the restaurant expands to Charlotte next year, instead of having a large footprint, he has a 2,000-square-foot space, and only a portion of the menu changes seasonally to ensure consistently good products.

“It’s just basically simple stuff done right,” Amoorpour says. “This is what’s happening in Europe, if you visit a coffee shop.”

Over-the-counter service has been a plus for the business, allowing for a more intimate experience for customers and a relaxed yet energetic culture for staff. For him, it’s about being different — by going back to the basics, and a time when being in the restaurant industry was less about competing with the shop next door and more about perfecting the craft and providing distinct options.

“I think people like that because it’s more exciting for them,” he says. “It’s not the normal things they always see on many restaurant menus or see in showcases, and they trust who is back there cooking, too.”

At The Everyday Market, Amoorpour has realized sometimes success means not trying to please everyone who walks through the doors. “Because of competition, people think that they should have a bigger menu, but if you can do 10 or 15 different things well, and that’s what you’re good at, then you should just stick with it,” he says.

While adapting to and enduring the restaurant industry since the early 1990s is no easy feat, one of the things that has helped Amoorpour over the years has his willingness to seek out mentors. “I wanted to learn more about it, so I traveled because when I was in Charlotte, it was not enough for me to learn,” he says. “I wanted to add to this culture, and give the knowledge that I learned from my path and traveling.”

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