Toronto woman who lost her full-time job starts a grilled cheese business with her sister

After a Toronto woman lost her job due to closures, she started a grilled cheese business with her sister who launched her 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 cast iron, banh mi, and Vietnamese iced tea, and have popped up 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 made redundant from her job as an electrical assembler in March 2020 and has since spent a lot of time cooking with Nini. The pair started Little Sizzle in early 2022.

“We both have a passion for cooking and are big foodies at heart,” Martha told blogTO. “We wanted to combine Eastern flavors with classic Western cuisine. We fuse two cultures to please everyone. Ultimately, our mission is to be as inclusive as possible.”

Along with becoming a new mom in 2020, Nini worked in cafes and an airport lounge while studying biotechnology.

Martha has worked at places like Smoke’s Poutinerie and other fast food restaurants, but the duo chose grilled cheese as the product for their pop-up because it’s close to their hearts.

“It was the first thing I learned to do myself, that my Asian mother allowed me to do myself. I still remember two slices of Wonderbread and a slice of American cheese” , says Martha.

“I made all my siblings one and that’s where my passion for cooking started. I also chose to start this business with grilled cheese because it’s a simple and comforting dish that can be spiced up in so many ways… It’s very versatile. The combination the flavor profiles are endless. That’s what I love the most.”

You might think working together as sisters would spark sibling rivalry, but that’s not the case with Little Sizzle.

“Honestly, it’s a dream come true! We’re best friends and we control each other,” says Martha. “We work really well together and balance each other out. My sister loves chatting with customers and I work fast on the grill.”

However, while Nini continues to focus on her family, Martha is already going it alone and following her passion for cooking as an individual.

“Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to be a line cook at a food-themed restaurant called Redeye at Assembly Chef’s Hall,” says Martha. “I love it there, and it definitely took my cooking 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 appear next. In December, they confirmed their intention to appear at the Holiday Fair in the Square.

“I hope the pop-up and events go well so we can review a physical store,” says Martha.

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