November 16, 2007 - News

City incubator hatches culinary entrepreneurs
As newcomers to Canada in the late 1990s, India-born chef Hemant Tallur and his wife Minal dreamed of starting a food business that captures the ethnic diversity of Toronto. Their idea - signature dishes from India, the Caribbean and the Philippines packaged as ready-to-eat meals for the North American market - was a blend of his recipes and her expertise in food technology. Now their fledgling business is getting a boost from a new facility, unveiled yesterday, intended to nurture entrepreneurs in the city's specialty food industry. "Someone who starts something new needs help to learn all the nuances of business," said Mr. Tallur, who left a high-paying computer job to launch his new food career. "You keep a baby in an incubator until it gets healthy," he said with a laugh. "I am a big baby." The new Toronto Food Business Incubator provides a certified, commercial-grade kitchen, peer mentors and advice on finance, food safety and marketing to selected start-ups, - like the Tallurs' Eat-In - that come in with a business plan, recipes and financial backers.