News | 7 March 2013

Restaurant Worker Advocate Visits Santa Cruz for Reading, Book Signing


Saru Jayaraman

Saru Jayaraman’s new book Behind the Kitchen Door is an exploration of the political, economic, and moral implications of dining out. (Photo courtesy ROC-United)

Saru Jayaraman, author of Behind the Kitchen Door, will speak and sign copies of her book Thursday, March 21, 7-9 p.m. at the Live Oak Grange, 1900 17th Ave., Santa Cruz in an event co-sponsored by the UCSC Center for Labor Studies, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, and Friends of the UCSC Farm and Garden. The public is invited and admission is free.

Just published, Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013) is an exploration of the political, economic, and moral implications of dining out. Blending personal narrative and investigative journalism, Jayaraman followed restaurant workers in New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Detroit, and New Orleans to investigate how low wages, poor working conditions, discrimination, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens affect the meals that are placed on restaurant tables.

Jayaraman’s agenda is to raise the living standards of the nation’s second-largest private sector workforce and ensure that dining out is a positive experience on both sides of the kitchen door.

She is co-founder and co-director of the national restaurant workers’ organization Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, and was named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008.

The event is co-sponsored by ROC-United, The Welcome Table, and Slow Food Santa Cruz.

Article written by Guy Lasnier.