How Two Philadelphia Chefs Are Pushing for Immigration Reform — Starting in the Kitchen

How Two Philadelphia Chefs Are Pushing for Immigration Reform — Starting in the Kitchen
Husband-and-wife team Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller are moving beyond barbacoa to fight for the undocumented workers in kitchens across the city.
Pacific Standard Magazine – 6/6/16 – By Amy McKeever

South Philly Barbacoa stands distinct among the red brick row houses in Philadelphia’s East Passyunk neighborhood. Across the restaurant’s facade, a mural swirled in shades of coral, turquoise, teal, and orange suggests a mosaic of people — blue eyes and blue lips transform a window into a nose, and two sketched faces peer out over the doorway. Cross the threshold, and a tambourine jingles from the cord of the shade on the front door.
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Immigration: South Philly Barbacoa Pushing For Reform, One Dish At A Time

April 26th, 2016 – Philadelphia Neighborhoods –  Words, images and video by Erin Edinger-Turoff and Joe Brandt.

Priority No. 1 for Cristina Martinez (above), the head chef at South Philly Barbacoa, is “to change the hearts” of customers at the restaurant at 11th and Morris streets.

“They come in and eat the food here, and maybe at the table they talk immigration reform,” Martinez said.

Since acquiring their own brick-and-mortar space, the co-owners of Barbacoa — Martinez and her husband, Ben Miller — have hosted events and met with Mayor Jim Kenney to discuss issues facing undocumented workers in the restaurant industry.

For the couple, there is a personal connection to the issue.

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