Food Businesses That Were Born During Covid and Their Heart-Warming Backstories

As Covid takes its toll, people struggle to find a way to make ends meet in a tough economy. The pandemic changes lives when more than 10,000 restaurants across Canada have been closed (according to Restaurant Canada). Fortunately, it also gave opportunities for new food businesses to form. Take a look at these three Covid-born culinary outlets around Toronto, whose food came as a silver lining and beacon of hope in these trying times.


Courage Cookies - Food Business

When the first lockdown took away employment opportunities for Chelsea Hearty and Ian Moores, the two best friends came together to experiment with their families’ old cookie recipe for fun. Not long after their friends and families took a bite, the demand for these delicious treats grew and Courage Cookies business was created. It has around 25 different flavors of cookies, including gluten-free and vegan options.

What is special about their business was that Chelsea and Ian didn’t just think about making a living for themselves, but also gave back to a community of essential workers and people in need of support. With a promise that a part of its income will always be donated to a good cause, Courage Cookies has contributed over $35,000 by the start of March 2021, passing their initial goal of $10,000.

Courage Cookies is available for both pickup and delivery.
Address: 28 Bathurst St. #1-104


Wesley Altuna, who immigrated to Canada in 1989, lost his job when Covid first broke out and ended up opening a Filipino restaurant that treats both the heart and the stomach. Similar to  Courage Cookies, what started out as a personal project soon became a sensation over social media. The restaurant grows from his kitchen stoves to a rented community kitchen, with Altuna now a full-time chef.

The menu of Bawangto is a collection of Filipino dishes that remind Altuna of his childhood in the Philippines, such as Cassava cake, Ukoy (crispy deep-fried fritters with shrimp) and lumpia (Filipino spring rolls). He cooks to make himself feel better whenever he is downhearted. Therefore, the dishes here not only fill up one’s stomach but also warm the distressed souls.

His restaurant, Bawangto, named after the Filipino word for garlic, offers both pickup and delivery for Torontonians.
Address: 1033 College


From a family cookbook full of handwritten pages from her great-grandmother, Becca Pereira opened her own Indian food business after quitting a reception job during the pandemic. Pereira shares that cooking isn’t only something that she genuinely loves but also provides her with an outlet to express creativity. She gets to create new dishes and refines old recipes.

Besides butter chicken, the restaurant’s most famous dish, this place offers various other Indian delights, such as paneer puffs, sourdough naan and curry. A noteworthy fact is that its menu varies week to week. The dishes will be announced on Pereira’s Instagram every week.

During Covid, Spice Girl Eats, like other food businesses, offers both pickup and delivery.
Address: 1033 College Street West

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