Saru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC in New York, organizing restaurant workers to win workplace justice campaigns, conduct research and policy work, partner with responsible restaurants, and launch cooperatively-owned restaurants. ROC now has 10,000 members in 19 cities nationwide. The story of Saru and ROC is chronicled in the book The Accidental American. Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times "Public Lives" section in 2005, and was named one of Crain's "40 Under 40" in 2008, 1010 WINS's "Newsmaker of the Year," and one of New York Magazine's "Influentials" of New York City. Saru co-edited The New Urban Immigrant Workforce, and wrote Behind the Kitchen Door, and, most recently, Forked: A New Standard for American Dining. In this episode, Saru talks with Chelsea about the struggle for pay and decent working conditions in restaurants, the ROC’s innovative collaborations in labor organizing, and the reasons people who like good food should care about labor politics.
Emma Rosenbush is the general manager at Cala in San Francisco, Chef Gabriela Cámara’s outpost of the renowned seafood restaurant Contramar in Mexico City. Before opening Cala, Emma stared an experimental pop-up restaurant in Mexico City called Pichón with Niki Nakazawa (who we interviewed on Delicious Revolution #9) and Kenny Curran. Prior to her time in Mexico, she worked at the Prison Law Office in Berkeley, where she decided that if she was ever responsible for hiring workers, she would hire former inmates. She is now leading the way in welcoming formerly incarcerated individuals into full-time, visible positions at Cala. Emma speaks with Chelsea about the changing labor politics in fine dining.