You can’t throw a rock in America without hitting a resto that doesn’t use migrant labor. In fact, immigration is crucial to our entire food system. 70 percent of agricultural workers are migrants, as are 20-30 percent of the back-of-house staff at any given eatery.
For so many people coming to America, the restaurant industry is the starting point for pursuing the American dream. Eventually, some of these very same immigrant workers open their own restaurants, food trucks, and stands all over the country. They put in the hard work, climb the ladder, and rise through talent and force of will.
To list these places would just seem futile — gems like Barbacoa in Philly are literally all around you, ripe for discovery. Instead, let’s look at celebrity chefs who were born outside of this country and chased their American Dreams, leaving our food culture so much better in the process.