"Wedding-size buss-up-shut roti" is as epic as it sounds.
Toronto Weston Flea Market vendor Tenny Ramkissoon has a personal mission: to make roti and doubles as popular as pizza and hamburgers. “Roti is a food a lot of people love, but it’s not internationally known,” says Tenny. “My intention is to put doubles and roti on the international map.”
Tenny and his wife Chandra, who both hail originally from Trinidad, opened up Kavita’s Hot & Spicy Foods inside the Toronto Weston Flea Market last year. Despite the fact that each of them has a full-time job—Tenny works the night shift at a car parts factory and Chandra packages coffee—they were excited to bring the Trinidadian food they served at weddings and parties to a wider clientele by opening a weekend stall. (See part one of Spice City’s post about the flea market here.)
This flea-market vendor thinks big. “I contacted Galen Weston’s people at President’s Choice to talk about doubles and roti,” says Tenny. “Someone in the office is not communicating with him, because he’s not calling back, and it’s been a month now.”
Several years ago, with Etobicoke’s Roti Roti restaurant, Tenny attempted to break the world record for the largest roti. He says the Guinness Book acknowledges that they broke the record, but hasn’t updated their site to confirm the feat.
At his flea-market stall, named after his youngest daughter, Kavita, Tenny sells a giant “wedding size buss-up-shut roti.” During a wedding in Trinidad, instead of making individual rotis, chefs make huge ones that are divided up, stuffed with curry and eaten by 10 or 15 people. It’s a paratha roti, made of thin layers of dough dusted with crushed yellow split peas.
The moniker “buss-up-shut” comes from the fact the hefty pile of dough looks like a busted up or torn shirt. “I’m the only Canadian chef who can cook it and I’ve been doing it since I was small,” boasts Tenny. “I cook it at home with my wife. We throw it on a hot plate and use wooden pallets to turn it.”
Spice City Toronto explores Toronto’s great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and strip-mall joints serving food from all corners of the world.