“Being HIV positive, I’ve been called a lot of things,” starts saying one of the Chefs in the promotional video for June’s An HIV Eatery. “unloveable, shameful, reckless, stupid, junkie, untouchable, infectious,” other chefs continue, “but there is one thing I never thought I’d be called, ‘chef’.” sentences the promotional video that is looking to smash the stigma that you could get HIV from food.
The Canadian charity group is hoping to break down stereotypes surrounding HIV patients, by the way of a new restaurant where all the staff members are HIV positive. June’s on Tuesday as its called is a pop-up dinner in Toronto and their motto is “Break Bread, Smash Stigma”.
Only half of Canadians would eat food prepared by someone with HIV.
We have a long way to go as we #SmashStigma .
— 🔶 I am Rob Shostak and this is my tweet 🔶 (@Robonto) November 8, 2017
According to a survey ran in October in Canada by Casey House, the charity center that provides health services for with HIV/AIDS, only half of the people surveyed would eat food that was prepared by a cook with HIV. “The numbers are kind of staggering, but it wasn’t overly surprising,” said CEO of Casey House Joanne Simons to the Toronto Star.
“For the clients that Casey House serves, that stigma is very real on a very daily basis,” Simons said. The charity organization was in charge of selling the pre-paid seats to the banquet where staff donned aprons with funny lines like, “I got HIV from pasta. Said no one ever.”
— Muhammad U. Tahir (@emyoutee) November 2, 2017
The viral plague can only be spread when infected fluid comes into contact with a person’s bloodstream that is not infected, so it’s impossible to get it from sharing food, cutlery or through skin-to-skin contact. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the menu included such delicacies as Thai potato leek soup and gingerbread tiramisu, that were enjoyed by the more than 200 customers that attended the event.
Casey House also worked with Toronto’s own Matt Basile, a celebrity chef that owns the highly regarded Fidel Gastro restaurant, “to work with 14 HIV positive individuals-turned-cooks to develop the menu, train, and cook for patrons,” said the charity through a statement.
— King Photographer (@kingphotointl1) November 10, 2017
One of the beneficiaries of Casey House said that he was “proud” to be part of June’s cooks and said that the people there work “boldly break barriers and end the isolation I have felt and others continue to feel.” The pop-up eatery completely sold out their first run even with tickets running at $ 98 per person.
Ms. Simons told the Thomson Reuters Foundation: “we’d love to be able to do it in places like New York and San Francisco and London.”
Chef Matt Basile trained an all-volunteer kitchen to run June’s HIV+ Eatery, a pop-up restaurant on Queen West: https://t.co/1UdTjvSZK1
— Toronto Life (@torontolife) November 7, 2017
Article inspired by Independent // World’s first restaurant with only HIV-positive chefs opens to ‘break bread, smash stigma’