A couple of weekends ago I spent both Saturday and Sunday in bed with a not so fun virus that one my kids decided to bring home from school. Not an ideal weekend but when these kinds of things happen, I do what everyone else does and binge watch something on Netflix. In one day I managed to watch all 8 episodes of David Chang’s new series “Ugly Delicious.” The series is great for anyone who is interested in food, travel and culture, and there was one moment that had me really shaking my head in disbelief.
It happens in episode 2, which is all about tacos. Hungry yet? They go to a place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania called South Philly Barbacoa, which now goes by the name El Compadre at a new location. Cristina Martinez started making her barbacoa in her home kitchen, which is essentially slow cooked lamb, beef or pork, and sold it to her friends. The stuff becomes so popular that they open a small brick and mortar restaurant. Fast forward a little while and it ends up on Bon Appetit’s Top 10 New Restaurants in America list. A great story, right? Here’s the catch – Cristina is living in the U.S. illegally. Although she is married to an American citizen, in order for her to become legal she has to go back to Mexico and wait for up to 10 years in order to apply for a green card, effectively shutting down her thriving business. How can this be? I don’t have the answer but it goes to show you just how broken our current immigration system is. Cristina is running a risk just appearing on David Chang’s show, which would normally be the greatest gift a new restaurant could ask for. How can she, her husband and everyone that they employ through their business succeed if they have to live in the shadows? It’s a tough call. Surely there has to be a solution for people like her.
That’s all for now. If you are interested in food and culture I encourage you to watch the show. I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up!
Craig Snyder is the Owner and President of The Language Academy of the Carolinas, Inc.