This week food became a love language and a means of empowerment in Bengaluru with the launch of Pride Cafe, a food truck, at WeWork Galaxy in Residency Road in an effort to provide employment and visibility to members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
An initiative by the Solidarity Foundation in partnership with WeWork, Amadeus and Agape Hospitality Consultants, the cafe aims to offer breakfast, lunch and snacks to those working and passing by WeWork Galaxy.
Shubha Chako, Executive Director at Solidarity Foundation said, “While listening to stories of people from the LBGTQIA+ community, we realised that food is a common juncture, a bridge to love. The food truck will help people understand the idea of gender inclusivity and relate to those who feel they could not open up about their queer identity in the society.”
The food truck employs 12 members, some of whom have received culinary training from Agape Hospitality’s centre at Lingarajapuram. Going forward, the cafe employees will also receive training in English speaking, mental health and hospitality skills. The truck will operate from 10 am to 6 pm through the week. The menu includes poha, classic French toast, sandwiches, roti and dal makhani etc.
“The options in our menu range from Indian to Continental, and our main focus is to serve young working individuals. Hence, our food will be something quick to eat and quick to take, while also being affordable. One can also taste the love with which the community members have come together to cook the food,” said Mario Pradeep, Head Chef at the Pride Café.
Expanding to other events, IT parks
Raghuvinder Singh Pathania, Head of Community and Operations, WeWork India said, “Diversity creates greater opportunities for professional growth, innovation, and creativity. WeWork India is committed to empowering the LGBTQIA+ community. Our collaboration with the Solidarity Foundation to launch Pride Café at WeWork Galaxy is a step towards empowering the community’s livelihood and improving their access to growth opportunities.”
Eventually, the Pride Café will also be stationed at events and other IT parks in the city. “This is our first initiative and we would eventually want to upscale it by stationing the food trucks at other IT parks and events. The fact that Pride Café has been launched shows that society is now open for social innovation,” Shubha added.
The cafe was inaugurated by veteran actor Arundhati Nag and drag performer Alex Mathew, also known popularly as Maya, the Drag Queen. The event witnessed a performance by the Jogappas, a transgender community in Karnataka, who sang praises of Goddess Yellamma. The talk by Maya spoke of their personal experience and the hardships they faced on their queer journey.