Chef Johnne Phinehas on the best Sri Lankan food in Scarborough


Johnne Phinehas and his wife own and operate Saffron Spice Kitchen, a Sri Lankan takeout shop on Queen West. “I use my mother’s recipes to make the curries on my menu, but the kothu roti is what I’m most passionate about,” says Phinehas. “People line up for it every day.”

Phinehas was born in 1980 to Tamil parents, in Sri Lanka’s northern province of Jaffna. He distinctly remembers what happened after the Sri Lankan Civil War began in 1983. “The war tore apart the province—everyone started to evacuate,” says Pinehas. His family travelled to India by boat, ending up in Chennai, the capital of India’s Tamil Nadu state. Over the next 10 years, Phinehas and his siblings started school and his father operated the cafeteria at a hostel. “We were really lucky. Most families that left Jaffna ended up in camps, where they went hungry.”

In 1994, like many other Tamils, the Phinehas family migrated to Canada, settling in Scarborough. “Our first home was on Tuxedo Court—that’s where all the Tamils were settling in the ’90s.” It was around this time that Phinehas started cooking. “I developed a passion for making Sri Lankan food for my high school peers,” says Phinehas. “It was a way for me to remember my home country.”

Phinehas now lives in Mississauga but visits Scarborough regularly for Sri Lankan food. “Scarborough and Markham are the best when it comes to Lankan food. No other areas come close.”

Click here to read the rest of the original article on Toronto Life.

Related articles:
Fish Cutlets, with a Healthy Twist!
You Have To Eat This: Barbie Idlis!
Handmade: Stories of Strength Shared Through Recipes

Editor's Note

Thank's so much for being a TC Reader! To continue bringing you more of the stories you love for free, our team needs your help. Will you make a small contribution? Every bit helps!

Give $15 Give Another Amount




TamilCulture is a forum that openly addresses the lifestyle of the current generation of Tamil men and women, by bridging the divide between their dual cultural influences through our targeted, entertaining and thought provoking content.

Read More Stores From TamilCulture...

6 thoughts on “Chef Johnne Phinehas on the best Sri Lankan food in Scarborough

  1. I like Gaasa at kennedy and finch. Anyway completely off topic, why do Srilankan Christians have really weird names? Phinehas, Bertram? Indian tamil Christians are mostly peter, alphonse, mariyam etc. Can someone explain this? I want to know.

  2. potentially descendant from the burghers? they’re a small ethnic group happily mixed with Dutch/German/Portuguese descent .. just a guess!

  3. Ann Hattori for some reason I thought this would be of interest to you… You are a Scarbz girl and you like trying new food!

  4. Omg Dee Dee saffron spice kitchen is where Mark are for the first time last week, it’s right near his work and he loved it!! What a coinky dinky!

Leave a Reply

More In Life