Things take a little bit longer for Azalea Kaviani, who suffers from cerebral palsy, a neuro-motor disease that affects muscle control.
But with patience and determination, she makes anything she puts her mind to work.
Just like she is doing with her new project, Azalea restaurant.
“If I have this opportunity to open this restaurant, I would like to convey a message to the people that we are all the same,” Kaviani said.
Kaviani says she got tired of applying for jobs and getting rejected. So she decided to take her destiny into her own hands and make her own luck, by showing that people with disabilities are valuable.
“Unfortunately, (the rejection was) because of my limitations,” Kaviani said. “So I asked my mother to open this restaurant, to prove that people with disabilities can improve their lives.”
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Kaviani’s mother, Fanny Esfahani, has years of experience in the restaurant industry, where Kaviani also worked.
“She was pushing me … a lot,” said Esfahani.
After three years of renovations, the restaurant opened in July on St. Denis street.
The menu is Iranian and Mexican fusion, serving plates such as Filet mignon ragout with almonds — their signature dish — and ceviche, Kaviani’s favourite.
“The concept is good food, healthy food that makes you happy,” Esfahani explained.
While her mother cooks, Kaviani takes care of accounting and marketing, as well as greeting guests.
“I love it, we love it,” said Zohreh, a client.
“Sometimes, when we come, here you’re supposed to sit only for one hour but by the time we take a look at our clock, ‘oh my god, four hours [have passed].’”
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It’s exactly the feeling Kaviani wants to convey to anyone who stops by.
“I love to communicate with different people, even if they don’t understand… but I can communicate with an iPad, and then I can give them all my love,” Kaviani said.
As for the future, the plan is for Kaviani to completely take over the restaurant.
Kaviani’s plans include retrofitting the facilities so they are accessible to everyone and hiring more people with disabilities.
“When she’s ready, I am retiring,” said Esfahani.
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