Immigrant protest may leave New Yorkers hungry


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Anybody who’s eaten at one of New
York’s many big-name restaurants may like to think the food was
lovingly prepared by a celebrity chef. The reality is it was
more likely made by a poorly-paid Mexican immigrant.

If all the city’s immigrants walk off the job in a
nationwide protest called for Monday against proposals to crack
down on illegal immigration, many New Yorkers will go hungry,
or at least be forced to eat at home for a change.

Anthony Bourdain, author of “Kitchen Confidential” and
executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles, said immigrant workers
are an often invisible presence in New York restaurants.

“I really think there’s a resistance to having a
mestizo-looking guy walking around the dining room in a French
restaurant,” said Bourdain, whose own chef de cuisine, is a
naturalized Mexican.

“Every time you read a restaurant review they always say
‘The chef has a sure hand with the spices.’ If the chef’s name
is widely known, the chances are it’s really some Mexican guy
who has a sure hand with the spices,” Bourdain said.

Sean Meade, assistant manager of Colors, an upscale
Manhattan restaurant cooperatively-owned by a group of
immigrant workers whose colleagues were killed in a top floor
restaurant in the attack on the World Trade Center, said
immigrants frequently climb the ladder from dishwasher to
busboy to cook.

“They do a lot of the work that many American citizens do
not want to do because they think it’s beneath them, they fill
that void,” said Meade.

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