Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

New restaurant staffed with deaf waiters


PETER MANSBRIDGE: A unique dining experience has just reached
Canada. You can find it at a restaurant in downtown Toronto. It’s different because the menu not only
caters to the taste buds. It also speaks a language of food you won’t hear anywhere else. Ioanna Roumeliotis explains. IOANNA ROUMELIOTIS: The menus are ready. The sliders ready to grill. The staff dressed and
ready to go. Opening night of a brand new restaurant in town where
the goal of the evening is to have your order fall on deaf ears. Yep. You heard that right. ANJAN MANIKUMAR: This is Canada’s first restaurant staffed
with deaf waiters and waitresses. IOANNA ROUMELIOTIS (OFF CAMERA): But in terms of an idea… ANJAN MANIKUMAR: An idea? This was the first one of its kind. IOANNA ROUMELIIOTIS: Aptly named “Signs,” this is a place where you have to follow
the signs customers are the signs. Customers are asked to order food and drink using
American Sign Language there are icons next to every menu item and a
cheat sheet to help. LIS PIMENTEL, CUSTOMER: “Oh yeah. Red something. And then beet. And then…yeah watermelon. IOANNA ROUMELIOTIS (OFF CAMERA): And what does that mean? PIMENTEL: Red beet watermelon salad. CUSTOMER: I think I’m going to have the duck. CUSTOMER (OFF CAMERA): Sign it! CUSTOMER: It’s like this. And like this. IOANNA ROUMELIOTIS: Anjan Manikumar wanted
to deliver a whole new dining experience and give deaf people a chance to shine
ANJAN MANIKUMAR: Providing them an opportunity here I think it’s is something that they deserve and they’re very
talented, every one of them, every one of my staff I’m very happy to say they are extremely
talented. IOANNA ROUMELIOTIS: More than 200 deaf people applied to work here. Most of the 50 or so who made the cut
have no restaurant experience but a passion to learn. RACHEL SHEMUEL, MANAGER: It’s given the deaf
community an opportunity to work in a workforce that they wouldn’t otherwise
be able to work in and it’s opening up a whole new workforce for the deaf community. IOANNA ROUMELIOTIS: This is
Mehdi Safavi’s first full-time job. An interpreter
helped us ask him how that feels. MEHDI SAFAVI: It’s a wonderful. I’m so excited to be
here. It’s a deaf environment where hearing people can come in and
experience our world and our culture so it’s really
amazing… really amazing. And it’s a challenge
for me. But a great challenge. IOANNA ROUMELIOTIS: It’s brand new but already there’s a buzz
and reservations are pouring in. IOANNA ROUMELIOTIS: Your biggest problem right
now is that you might have too much business? ANJAN MANIKUMAR: I might. I might have too much business. IOANNA ROUMELOTIS: And all through an entirely different
word-of-mouth. Ioanna Roumeliotis, CBC News, Toronto.

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