Sometimes great projects develop by trying to walk a path set out by someone else. That’s how Hassel Aviles got the idea to start the Toronto Underground Market.
San Francisco, among other cities, has hosted evenings where non-traditional food sellers (young entrepreneurs, at-home chefs among others) prepare small portions for large gatherings of enthusiastic eaters. The idea is that a one-night event requires little in the way of equipment and other costs restaurants usually have to take on, so people with an interest in making food for the public can do so in an inexpensive way that brings people out for a fun and unusual night.
Selling food involves lots of government regulation. That’s why Toronto sees little more than hot dog vendors on its streets. And while Hassel Aviles took up an idea from San Francisco, she’s had to take on challenges unique to Toronto. And because she’s put in the effort to meet all the regulatory requirements, TUM is a sanctioned event, the next one scheduled for this coming Saturday October 20th. The evenings are usually restricted to people 17 and over, though the last one in September included Day TUM, which included 25 of the best chefs preparing food for all-ages access.
Since the first TUM in September 2011, tickets have sold out, and the press has been happy to tell the story. Whether or not you decide to check it out yourself, it’s worth noting how Aviles found inspiration in something someone else was doing and chose to make a go of it. As a result of pursuing an inclination, she’s found herself at the centre of an amazing community of people who want to see her continue to succeed.