“Toronto is a foodie’s paradise”, says immigrant entrepreneur

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Bikram Singh is optimistic about the food industry

By Pradip Rodrigues

A couple of years ago, Bikram Singh a reputed F&B (Food and Beverage) professional from Delhi wondered what it would be like to live as opposed to simply visiting a North American city that boasted clean air and great infra-structure. It had also to be a good place to raise kids. Having frequently visited the US and Canada with his family since childhood, he was familiar with the landscape, he started some research on Canada and zeroed in on Toronto.

As a professional in the F&B industry it was one thing being thrilled about air quality, he also needed to be assured he could thrive professionally in his field. He made multiple visits to Toronto and the potential he saw excited him, his wife Ayesha, a public relations specialist by profession could see potential, so they moved here last year along with their young son.

Can-India caught up with Bikram Singh, a smart professional bursting with ideas to ask him what he sees in Toronto that a lot of us may be missing.

What did you do in India prior to making the leap?
I run a consulting firm in India that exclusively works in the hospitality industry, it helps to set up and operate boutique hotels and Food and Beverage establishments (restaurants, bars and quick service concepts) the services offered cover every aspect from market research, concept development, financial planning, technical planning and operational supervision. I then moved on to assist in Joint Ventures and management take-overs for existing hospitality businesses.
In a nut shell – my speciality is working with existing and new hospitality professionals to expand and launch their establishments into a different league.

Are your plans here in Toronto similar or have they changed?
In Toronto, I plan to do the same thing and look forward to work with some talented entrepreneurs. I am also considering a project of my own, and am currently in the phase of planning and researching the market for the same.

How would you rate the food scene in Toronto?
I follow global industry trends and try and stay in touch with the F&B scene across major cities of the world. I agree and am proud to witness the restaurant renaissance in India especially Mumbai and Delhi, it is because of a new breed of enterprising entrepreneurs. New York has always excited me, it offers the most vibrant restaurant scene’s in the world.
Toronto’s strength is diversity, people moving in and bringing something along with them. It is like talent from different ethnic backgrounds coming together on one stage and an audience that is ready to see the show. The city has also grown as a business hub, a few years back you could never imagine opening of extravagant concepts like the Cactus club, bars like Lavelle or even casual dine and quick service concepts that started from Toronto and have opened multiple locations across the GTA. The F&B market is expanding, so in that sense I see Toronto going the NY way.

As a foodie which are some of the nicer restaurants in Toronto?
I liked the dining area at Baro – King St West, Pai – a cozy Thai place in the Entertainment District, Momofuku, love the lounge at the Thompson roof top and Grand Electric a hip bourbon and tacos bar, my favorite BLT is at Bannock at Bay street. My favorite Hakka Chinese is at Haka Ren, Mississauga, burritos from Fat Bastard and Wilbur Mexicana is great, Tibetan at Tibet Kitchen at queen (W) Guru Lakshmi for south Indian, Premium sweets… the list is endless. – CINEWS

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