Canadian organization Casey House is opening a pop-up restaurant run entirely by a HIV+ staff to fight against stigma. It’s part of the campaign Break Bread Smash Stigma.
June’s, named after Casey founder June Callwood, runs in Toronto from 7-8 November.
Casey House is teaming up with chef Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro for the project. He will be working with 14 HIV+ cooks at June’s. Together, they developed the menu, trained, and will cook for patrons.
Tickets for the pop-up restaurant are sold out, but anyone can still donate.
According to Casey House, ‘only half of Canadians would knowingly share food with, or eat food prepared by, someone who is HIV+’. However, food and food preparation cannot transmit HIV. It is this misconception that led the organization to opening the restaurant.
Battling stigma one meal at a time
Founded in 1988, Casey House is the first and only Canadian hospital for people with HIV/AIDS. They pride themselves as a place ‘where people with HIV/AIDS can seek care without judgement’.
Their Twitter account dispels myths about HIV, including how it can and cannot transmit.
None of the above. HIV doesn’t survive on surfaces, so you can’t get HIV from towels, drinks or cutlery. Learn more: https://t.co/njKpIrnQO3
— Casey House (@caseyhouseTO) November 4, 2017
‘I stand proud to be part of this powerful group of 14 HIV positive chefs to boldly break barriers and end the isolation that I have felt and others continue to feel,’ said Kenneth Poon, Casey House client. ‘Through the compassionate care that I received at Casey House, I made it through those darkest days and I am here today, helping others who are living with HIV/AIDS.’