My parents emigrated from  Hyderabad, India to Canada in 1967. They landed in Scarborough and ever since then it’s been the community I call home. My parents owned the infamous Taj Banquet Hall, and my mother was considered the “Queen of Biryani”.

Ever since I was a kid, I remember always being interested in what my mother was doing in the kitchen. She taught me everything I know about cooking and most importantly taught me how to cook food with love. 

I graduated culinary school and had the privilege of working alongside the best chefs around the country.

My love for cooking grew and I knew that I was destined to open my own restaurant to serve my community one day. Tragically in 2008 after leaving my restaurant shift, I was shot and left paralyzed from the waist down. This changed the trajectory of my life, and ultimately taught me everything I know about having determination to overcome obstacles every day.  

To me having that Scarborough Grit is all about never giving up on your dreams, despite the unexpected challenges that life throws at you.  Even though I was paralyzed, I was determined to continue doing what I love.

I opened my first wheelchair-accessible food truck in 2011 called The Holy Grill in Scarborough. Business was really good, and the community showed me so much love. After two and a half years, I finally opened my own brick-and-mortar shop called THG’s Chicken on Sheppard Ave E. I’ve even been able to give back to my community by catering events for the amazing healthcare teams at SHN.  

Supporting the hospitals that helped me in so many ways during a rough time in my life is important to me, and if it wasn’t for the staff at SHN I wouldn’t be where I am today.

That’s why I encourage everyone to support Scarborough hospitals and give the community the healthcare we deserve. 

Chef Aleem Syed is one of our 11 new faces of the Scarborough Sans Family. To learn more about our campaign please visit