Eclectic Urban Food that Happens to be Halal

Creating beautiful things with noble ingredients is in Chef Aleem’s DNA. His parents, Afzal and Naeem Syed, immigrated from Hydrebad, India to Toronto in 1967, where his father opened the city’s first halal butcher shop; from that stemmed their internationally celebrated catering and banquette operation.

From the age of nine, Aleem was immersed in the fragrant world of traditional Hyderabadi cuisine, learning the business, and all of his mother’s recipes and tricks of the trade, including the secret to her famously delicious Hydrebadi biryani. Chef Aleem is creating from his own kitchen now, but he still cooks from that place of integrity he was raised in, affording great attention to detail in all that he does.

“If food is cooked with the right intention, everything’s going to come out pure. We have one life to live. I make eclectic urban food that happens to be Halal and if I can touch someone through my dishes, then I’ve accomplished something.”

Choosing to cook Halal is an honour, a privilege, and responsibility to his community, his heritage, and most of all his parents. “But,” Chef Aleem is emphatic, “let’s be clear, I want everyone to enjoy my food.”

He’s also a man with a mission – to take his food business as far as he can, and to do it on his own two feet again.

Young, talented, ambitious, working hard in all the right kitchens, he was on the right trajectory. That changed one night in 2008. At 27, Chef Aleem was mugged at gunpoint. He was robbed of his belongings, and after a single gunshot, was also robbed of his ability to walk. A spinal cord injury left him paralyzed from the waist down, and bound to a wheelchair.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, he took on his rehabilitation, and then he came back to the kitchen. By resting a cutting board on his lap he was able to cook with the same passion and skill he had before. The pain was brutal, but no match for that ambition, that talent, that palate, and that love for what he does best.

Through sharing his story, Chef Aleem serves up another sort of goodness. In his speaking engagements, he inspires audiences – young and old – to live to their fullest potential, despite life’s adversities.

Life is short but his will and desire to push forward is immeasurable. He’s got plans – big plans – food to cook, and people to inspire. The wheels just get him there faster.


Partnership with Chef Aleem & Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

Kicking off in January 2016, Chef Aleem Syed and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario have joined forces for a creative and delicious partnership.


Throughout this year, Chef Aleem’s recipes will be featured in Spinal Cord Injury Ontario’s quarterly magazine, Outspoken! Aleem will also be working together with Spinal Cord Injury Ontario to create helpful, life-hack videos for kitchen connoisseurs.


Since his accident, Aleem has been a client of Spinal Cord Injury Ontario and is happy to beable to give back the best way he knows how – through his extraordinary talent and passion for food!


To learn more about the partnership and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, the services they offer and how you can support them, please click here.


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