Toronto woman who lost her full-time job starts up grilled cheese business with her sister
After a Toronto woman lost her job due to lockdowns, she started up a grilled cheese business with her sister that set her off on a whole new career path.
Little Sizzle is a grilled cheese pop-up operated by sisters Martha and Nini. Their specialty is the brisket "kimcheese" sandwich, but they also do brisket melts, banh mi and Vietnamese iced tea, and have been appearing at festivals and places like Soul Provisions.
Prices start at $12, and they also offer rotating specials like a French onion soup grilled cheese sandwich.
Martha was laid off from her job as an electrical assembler in March 2020, and has been spending a lot of time cooking with Nini ever since. The pair started up Little Sizzle in early 2022.
"We both have a passion for cooking and are huge foodies at heart," Martha tells blogTO. "We wanted to combine eastern flavours to classic western comfort food. We're fusing two cultures together to satisfy everyone. At the end of the day, our mission is to be as inclusive as possible."
In addition to becoming a new mom in 2020, Nini has experience working at coffee shops and an airport lounge while she was studying biotechnology.
Martha has a background working at places like Smoke's Poutinerie and other fast-food restaurants, but the duo decided on grilled cheese as the product for their pop-up because it's close to their hearts.
"It was the first thing I learned how to make by myself, that my Asian mom allowed me to make by myself. I still remember two slices of Wonderbread and one slice of American cheese," says Martha.
"I made all my siblings one and that's when my passion for cooking started. I also chose to start this company with grilled cheese because it is a simple comfort dish but can be elevated in so many ways... It's very versatile. The combination of flavour profiles are endless. That is what I love most about it."
You might think working together as sisters would stir up a sibling rivalry, but that's not the case with Little Sizzle.
"Honestly, It's a dream come true! We are each other's best friend and keep each other in check," says Martha. "We work really well together and balance each other out. My sister loves chatting up customers and I work fast on the grill."
However, as Nini continues to focus on her family, Martha is already striking out on her own and following her passion for cooking as an individual.
"Early this year I was given an opportunity to be a line cook at a diner-themed restaurant called Redeye at Assembly Chef's Hall," says Martha. "I love it there, and it definitely took my culinary skills to the next level."
In the meantime, Little Sizzle is still going strong, and you can follow them on social media to see where they'll be popping up next. This December, they've confirmed plans to appear at Holiday Fair in the Square.
"Hopefully the pop-up and events go well so we can look into a brick-and-mortar store," says Martha.
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