Ricardo is the co-creator, composer and manager of Copper & Heat, the James Beard Award-winning podcast exploring the unspoken rules and traditions of restaurant kitchens.
The systems that the restaurant industry is built on don’t work - they’re built on power imbalances and devaluing the labor of hospitality workers. More folks than ever are questioning these systems and looking to make change in the industry. As we’re trying to make changes to labor and wage issues in restaurants - who are we looking to as leaders? Are we looking to the chefs that are just now getting to the conversation - or are we looking to the chefs that have been doing the work and putting their necks on the line for years?  In this episode, Katy is joined by Dahlia Snaiderman in talking with four people that have been leading the way in labor and wage issues in the restaurant industry. Katy talked to Reem Assil and Preeti Mistry, two chefs from the San Francisco Bay Area. Dahlia talked with Yamila Ruiz and Jeanie Chunn from One Fair Wage and RAISE High Road Employers.  For more information:  About Reem’s California About Preeti’s new restaurant concept To join RAISE High Road Employers email: heythere@highroadrestaurants.org About One Fair Wage and ROC United Dahlia hosted season 2 of The Garnish podcast and is now working on the publication On the Line by Toast.
On March 9th, Chef Irene Li, owner of Mei Mei Restaurant in Boston, opened their finances to the public at an event called Open Book Open House. The purpose? To get people having more open and honest conversations around restaurants and money. But just a week after the Open Book Open House, restaurant dining rooms closed due to COVID and all of a sudden restaurant finances were on everybody’s mind.   Thank you all so much for listening to our second season! We really appreciate each one of you. If you have any thoughts about season 3, send them our way.  We’re also very grateful for Pared, our season 2 sponsor. Sign up to be a member now and join the community of other foodservice workers.  Help the restaurants and organizations featured in our second season:  Kin Restaurant in Boise, Idaho - support them by ordering delivery Otoño in Highland Park, Los Angeles - support them by visiting their location they’ve converted into a Spanish market. They also have gift cards and an employee relief fund. Homeroom in Oakland, California - They are still open for take-out and delivery and they also have an employee fund. Opening Soon Podcast and Tilit in New York City - Opening Soon has done a great job covering talking to restaurant folks about how they’re affected by COVID. Tilit is also selling masks with a buy-one-give one policy. If you buy one through them, they’ll donate one to a food service employee volunteering or a medical professional. Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement in Emeryville, California - Fernay and team are doing Saturday and Sunday orders right now and they also have a relief fund.  Le Pigeon in Portland, Oregon - Le Pigeon is currently doing a cellar sale for bottles of wine. Plus they have other merch and gift cards for sale.  One Fair Wage - One Fair Wage has set up a relief fund for foodservice workers in need. You can donate to the fund or volunteer to help call applicants.  Giving Kitchen in Atlanta, Georgia - They are still helping foodservice workers in financial crisis so you can donate to that. They also have a COVID-19 resource page.   Mei Mei in Boston, Massachusetts - They are still doing bulk orders, virtual dumpling classes, and selling gift cards. 
Mei Mei in Boston has been an open book restaurant since 2017. They train their entire staff on the finances so that everyone can have a voice in making the restaurant run more efficiently. But on March 9th, Chef Irene Li, owner of Mei Mei decided she wanted to take the education a step further and open their books to the public. What do the finances of a small independent restaurant really look like? Turns out, it’s even rougher than everybody would like to admit.
What happens when you get sick or injured and you work in a restaurant? You keep working. At least, that’s how it’s always been. With low wages, lack of access to benefits, and usually nonexistent paid leave, the workers living paycheck to paycheck can’t really take care of their health. Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit in Atlanta, Georgia, is attempting to mitigate those challenges in their local Georgia community by providing financial assistance and resources to workers going through a financial crisis from injury, illness, a death in the family, or housing crisis due to flood or fire.  We have been working on this episode for months, but as we write this, restaurants and their employees are facing a challenge unlike any other in the past due to the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. We’ve compiled some resources and tips for workers on our website at copperandheat.com/coronavirus.  Look into workshare programs in your city or state like this one in Massachusetts. Many states are making applying for unemployment easier for those affected by COVID-19. So look it up in your state.  Bartenders - there’s an emergency relief fund that you can apply to through the USBG  See if your local restaurant association or any other nonprofits have an emergency financial assistance program like this one.  Some folks are starting GoFundMe pages for emergency relief like this one in Boston. Give if you can, start one in your area, apply if you need help.  Participate in telling city, state, and federal governments to announce a plan to help workers and small businesses.
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Creator Details

Apr 22nd, 1990
Oakland, California, United States of America
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
14 hours, 18 minutes
Podchaser Creator ID logo 748990