At the Terrasinne restaurant on FC road in Pune, specially-abled staff run the show
They are all above 21 years of age and are farmers children from villages of Maharashtra and Karnataka. We are also sourcing organic food material like millets used in the restaurant from these farmers, says Dr Sonam Kapse, cancer genetics super speciality surgeon turned restaurateur and owner of Terrasinne
PUNE Inclusivity and equality have become the buzzwords for this socially conscious restaurant “Terrasinne,” which opened its doors on Fergusson College road in March this year.
It is a unique dining place for most of its serving and kitchen staff is specially-abled.
“We opened the restaurant on March 15 only to close on April 2 due to lockdown. But ever since mid-July the place has been constantly booked, and people are appreciating it,” said Dr Sonam Kapse, cancer genetics super speciality surgeon turned restaurateur and owner of Terrasinne.
The restaurant is managed by 12 specially-abled youth, though Dr Kapse has trained 44 youths.
“They are all above 21 years of age and are farmers children from villages of Maharashtra and Karnataka. We are also sourcing organic food material like millets used in the restaurant from these farmers,” she said.
Before training the youth, Dr Kapse spent three years understanding how she could help the physically and specially challenged. During her studies on their behavioural pattern, she realised that they need to be treated like normal people and should be included in everyday work, thus thinking of opening the first such restaurant in Pune.
“It was a mammoth task to teach them about global cuisine, from Mexican food to Mediterranean dishes. These were kids who had not sampled pizza or pasta and using sign language, we trained them in two months,” said Dr Kapse.
The menu in the pleasing alfresco restaurant is also well planned and unique, for each of the menu pages uses Indian sign language as a symbol along with each dish lined up with a unique symbol or sign and patrons are encouraged to use signs for the dish they want to order.
“This is done to promote inclusivity and create an equal platform for them,” she added.
Parveen is one of the servers on staff and despite the mask, one can see a smile lurking around as she uses her sign language for an order.
“I am very happy to work here. I get to meet people, although it takes time to talk with them, as they are learning my language, I understand their orders,” said Parveen, who was earlier working as a beauty specialist.
Many companies and people who come to the restaurant have approached Dr Kapse to train and provide them with specially-abled youth for work opportunities.
“People and companies want to employ these youths to provide them an equal working platform and are willing to go that extra mile of even learning the sign language,” she said.
Anisha Vaidya was with her family enjoying lunch and said, “They are very fast in understanding the order and happy to help us if we make a wrong sign. It is a great learning experience, with good food.”