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Canada’s First HIV-Positive Restaurant Opens In Toronto To Combat Stigmas

On Monday, Casey House opens the doors to June’s, Canada’s first pop-up restaurant run by HIV positive chefs. To ignite a conversation around the stigma that people living with HIV/AIDS experience, Chef Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro will lead a team of 14 HIV positive individuals-turned-cooks on November 7 and 8 in Toronto. Chef Basile collaborated with the cooks on menu to build a 4-course-meal featuring their favourite ingredients as well as led them through a training session on kitchen skills and food preparation fundamentals.

“We explored this stigma through a study we conducted as part of our campaign Break Bread. Smash Stigma. The study revealed that only half of Canadians would knowingly share or eat food prepared by someone who is HIV positive despite the fact you cannot transmit the disease through food preparation,” said Joanne Simons, CEO of Casey House. “My hope for June’s is that the experience leaves a lasting impression and will help to continue to break down barriers around stigma. We are so grateful to our partners and sponsors like RBC who are standing with us to help bring our vision of June’s to life.”

June’s is named after Casey House’s founder and prolific Canadian activist and journalist June Callwoodand was created in partnership with Canada’s largest independent agency, Bensimon Byrne and is presented by RBC.

“This is a unique and thought-provoking event, and we are honoured to be a part of it,” said Lawrence Spicer, RBC Vice President, Audit. “Our hope is that the conversations it will ignite will help reduce the stigma faced by people living with HIV/AIDS.”

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