Born in Padang, Indonesia |
For most of Cindy’s grandmother’s life, she cooked and baked out of her own home, hoping to sell enough goods at the market to enable her to feed seven children. As the eldest son, Cindy’s father was expected as a youngster to work and generate income for the family. With little education he began working full time at thirteen, creating his own electrical company by eighteen. The business became quite successful; however, there was no room for growth in their small town. Understanding the harsh reality of poverty in Indonesia, Cindy’s parents felt that living in ‘America’ would provide the family with unlimited opportunities. After her father passed the business to his younger brother, her parents made the difficult decision to leave their well-established lives in Indonesia and venture into the unknown. For as long as Cindy can remember, Toronto has been home. Both of her siblings were born here and this is a city that has shaped her into the person she is today. Currently Cindy is the proud owner of the Indonesian street-style food business called Babi & Co.
Toronto as Home
According to Cindy, Toronto Underground Market (TUM) at Evergreen Brickworks was the birthplace of Babi & Co. The Old Brick Factory turned Toronto Market gave her the great opportunity to showcase Indonesian food in Toronto. She explains how they were willing to take the leap and have never looked back – in business since February 2012 and going strong!
Connection with the Past
Before her grandmother passed away, she taught her daughter how to make many of the traditional Indonesian foods she used to sell at the local market. There is one in particular called risoles that was always Cindy’s favourite. This dish always reminds her of where she came from, comforts Cindy and humbles her when she thinks of her family’s past hardships. Whenever she chooses to buy expensive clothing or frivolous things she can always hear her dad lecturing in the background:
“Do you know how many risoles your grandmother would have to make so that she could afford such unnecessary things?”
Now whenever Cindy makes risoles like the ones she is holding, she is reminded of everything her Grandmother did for the family.