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Enjoy classic Sri Lankan dishes with a modern twist by Lakeshore Food Company this weekend at Henderson Brewery from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Starting their journey last summer as a Sri Lankan eats pop-up at rotating breweries, the business by chef and owner Eranga Herath -- who's also the Chef de Cuisine of Storys Building -- got so popular that they moved their operations online once the colder months approached and are now back in action in person this summer.
Taking place this Saturday and Sunday, experience chef Herath's take on Sri Lankan food, which undeniably is one of the more underrepresented cuisines in the city.
"Toronto is an exciting and diverse city with a lot of food options, and while there is a large Sri Lankan community here, I noticed there weren't a ton of Sri Lankan food options," the chef says, "I wanted to create food that represents the diversity and regionality of Sri Lankan cuisine."
And as a result, he is using his experiences gained throughout his culinary journey to share flavours from southern Sri Lanka.
Growing up in Negombo, a coastal town in Sri Lanka, chef Herath initially moved to Canada to study technology. While here, he soon discovered his real passion didn't lay in the tech field after all, but instead in the culinary world.
Working at a local diner in his spare time helped chef Herath recognize that he truly loved cooking for its ability to make people happy through sharing delicious food, and not long after enrolled in George Brown College's culinary program.
Lakeshore Food Company encompasses the chef's strong roots in Sri Lankan cuisine through the ingredients and flavours used, with influences from his experiences being trained in traditional European cooking techniques and his knowledge gained through working in some of the city's most high-end restaurants.
The end result on your plate is modern takes on classic Sri Lankan dishes that truly reflect the chef's journey. For these summer pop-ups, find two to three items featured, including mains or Sri Lankan snacks called short eats. The menu is remaining small to allow the group to properly feature one popular Sri Lankan dish at a time. Expect items like Chicken Kottu, Mushroom Kottu and short eats like Mutton Rolls and Samosas to hit the menu.
Look out for the chef's favourite, a best-seller, flaky Godamba Roti with Chicken Curry.
Most dominantly, the menu showcases memories of chef Herath's upbringing in Negombo surrounded by family.
"My dishes are inspired by the family gatherings where we would eat spicy black pork, crispy hoppers and my favourite: grandmother's Chicken Curry," says chef Herath.
With many of his fondest memories surrounding food being deeply connected to his grandmother, the chef says, "My first memory of food and cooking was when my grandmother and extended family used to cook for parties and family gatherings. These memories are of communal cooking and the collective choreography of multiple people doing different tasks, while the head of the kitchen (my grandmother) oversaw the cooking."
If you aren't able to drop by this weekend, Lakeshore Food Company plans to hold at least one in-person pop-up a month while the weather is still warm, so clear your schedule to catch them at Black Lab Brewery on August 7 and 8 or visit them at Henderson Brewery again on August 14 and 15.
Keep in mind that beyond pop-ups, Lakeshore Food Company also offers private chef services for special occasions with Sri Lankan-themed tasting menus, which you can arrange via their "Contact Us" section on their website.
Be sure to follow Lakeshore Food Company on Instagram to get updates on where they'll be popping up next.