Eating out is not an unusual pastime. People do it all the time; some more frequently than others. However, it’s not often that customers think about the people behind the food or what it took to get that dish to the table before them. In her article, “The Restaurant Industry Depends on Immigrants. What Happens If We Lose Them?” Victoria Bouloubasis shows the unequal statuses between the cooks and the consumer in the restaurant industry.
“Food may be a tool for economic survival in America, but culinary skills have limited power. We are actively participating in a consumer culture that keeps its blinders on, focusing on American generosity and its semblance of opportunity. We celebrate the wonderful food of immigrants, lick our fingers clean, and ignore reality. The cooks who feed us, who run our vibrant food culture, don’t have the same rights as eaters.”
Those who choose to dine at a restaurant hold a certain luxury that those working within the restaurant does not have. It illustrates that the patrons have enough money to afford themselves a seat and their bill at the end of the meal contributes to the money the workers receive for their service. In juxtaposing the two groups, it becomes obvious which side is in a more advantageous position. What could be done to perhaps bridge the wide gap between eater and creator is for consumers to become more cognizant of the process in making the food and the knowledge that is necessary to carry out such a task. In such a situation, a bit of empathy can go a long way. Instead of drawing a line between who is an immigrant and who is not, it is better to acknowledge everyone as the person they are without their statuses speaking for them.
Bouloubasis, Victoria. “The Restaurant Industry Depends on Immigrants. What Happens If We Lose Them?” Indy Week, Indy Week, 22 Mar. 2017.