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Ethnic Flavours and Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Doner-Gyro-Shawarma Restaurateurs in Toronto’s Diverse Foodscape

A cook cutting shawarma meat

Photo credit: Suresh Doss, CBC

The purpose of the study is to understand the recent popular fast-food item doner, shawarma and gyros in Toronto, Canada. As a multicultural city, Toronto offers a diverse range of food items from around the World. While these food items reflect diverse regional traditions, they may also originate from broader geography, reflecting common historical origins. Through interviews with various doner kebap, shawarma and gyros owners/operators, our research aims to gain insights into the cultural perceptions of differences among these seemingly similar food items and challenges for immigrant entrepreneurs and ethnic restaurant operators. We are also interested in learning about the everyday realities of the doner/gyro/shawarma business in Toronto and how the pandemic may have challenged their businesses.




Mustafa Koc (PI), Toronto Metropolitan University
Jenelle Regnier Davies, Toronto Metropolitan University
Mariam Vakani (RA), Toronto Metropolitan University



Partnership for Change: The RBC Immigrant, Diversity and Inclusion Project at Ryerson University. $26,062

Project dates

June 2020-Dec. 2023