Breakfast Dads – Nadi
Have you met Nadi?
Nadi is one of the first cooks to join the Sunset Grill family. He runs the kitchen at our flagship Sunset Grill, located at Winston Churchill and Eglinton in Mississauga.
He’s been grilling tasty breakfast eats for hungry guests for almost 15 years now. He’s a naturally shy guy, however, once you get him talking his friendly and warm character shines through.
“I love cooking,” he says with a smile. “I like working here because everyone here is like me: they’ve been here for a long time. I give big credit to the management; the staff is so friendly.”
Franchise Owners Tom and Bill truly appreciate everything Nadi has done for the restaurant. “He is a loyal, calm, and very hard-working chef that has contributed to our success at Sunset Grill,” says Tom. “My father, Mike, before he passed away last year, very much enjoyed working alongside Nadi on weekends. Nadi was my dad’s number one employee.”
“We consider Nadi to be like family,” Tom says.
While Nadi now calls Milton home, he recalls a time when his life wasn’t so simple. He grew up as a teenager in war-torn Sri Lanka, where civil war raged and the looming threat of violence was an unfortunate fact of life. Young males at the time were particularly susceptible as rebel militia would lure them in and force them to become child soldiers.
He was only 17 years old when his family fled to Canada and forged new lives for themselves here.
“My parents wanted a better life for me,” he says. “They tried to get me out of there and save my life.”
He knows he owes them a debt of gratitude. That’s why he’s been so involved in his children’s lives. He wants his kids – Runi, 16, Paru, 13, and Simi, 9 – to seize opportunity and make the most of their lives.
“You have to work hard to get something,” he explains. It’s a lesson his parents instilled in him from a young age, and a lesson he is now passing down to his own children. “They taught me the value of hard work. It’s my goal to see [my kids] in a ‘big-level’ job. I want them to enjoy what they’re doing.”
Nadi never had any formal chef training; he’s completely self-taught. Before Sunset Grill, he worked at a steakhouse in downtown Toronto. As you can imagine, stress was high, but he always managed to keep his cool. Since transitioning to the world of breakfast, he’s set some new goals for himself.
“I would like to own my own business one day, maybe even a Sunset Grill,” he says with passion.
What’s most rewarding for him as a father is his role as mentor at home. “I like to watch them grow up, help them out; help them figure out what they want to be,” he says. “I’m trying to get them there.”
Although he’ll be working on Father’s Day, he is looking forward to spending some quality time with his family after his shift at the restaurant. He has a big family: two brothers, three sisters, and lots of nieces and nephews. They try to get together for the big celebrations, as family is extremely important to Nadi.
He’s looking forward to his family vacation to Paris this summer. He’s been there three times now and loves it. “I love Europe. I have relatives there, that’s why I choose to go to Europe.”
He’s traveled throughout Europe, and even made his way over to Singapore at one point. Paris will always have a special place in his heart, though.
While Nadi misses his friends and family back home, he is proud of the life he has built for himself here in Ontario. “I came to the right place…so I don’t feel like I miss home much,” he says.
One day he hopes to bring his kids back to Sri Lanka to show them where their father grew up, and to learn about their roots.
It’s a little-known fact that Sunset Grill has become something of a hub for the Sri Lankan community in Southwestern Ontario. Many of Sunset Grill’s cooks are of Sri Lankan descent, and it has really resonated with the community, Nadi shares.
“I want to say thank you to Sunset Grill for giving us…all Sri Lankans… this opportunity to work here…” he says with appreciation.
The next time you stop by for breakfast or lunch at our Eglinton & Winston Churchill, Mississauga Sunset Grill, be sure to say hi to Nadi!
Eglinton Ave. W. & Winston Churchill Blvd.
2901 Eglinton Ave. W.,
Mississauga, ON, L5M 6J3
Monday to Friday 6:30 AM to 3 PM
Saturday & Sunday 7 AM to 3:30 PM