Do You Eat Ethnically??? Yes, yes You Do!

Happy Saturday Fellow Foodies!

I am now going to tell you the story of an illegal (food service) worker in a foreign country than may surprise you. Are you ready? Grab a glass of wine, and hold on!!! Please watch the below video and them continue to read:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZEUwvIHdSs


A girl who needed to get away from her husband-in her home country-because of gross neglect and verbal abuse, answers an add online for a chef in a first-world country, for a fine dining restaurant inside a 3 star hotel. This is not a head chef position, rather a sous chef/pastry chef job for which she is qualified.

She them receives, a day later, a phone call and 90 minute interview for the above mentioned job. Two days later she is hired and is on a plane (at her own expense-with the promise of re-compensation at the end of her contract), to this promised land of a booming economy, and milk and honey. She is scared, but excited for the new and amazing opportunities that await her and her many years of experience.

She works hard, and through a stroke of luck managed to attain the Head Chef's position before the end of her contract. She felt rewarded and justified in her move to the new land of promise. Then to the girl's horror, she finds out that she was lied to...she had no legal work permit, the "taxes" that were being taken out of her wages were simply the Hotel scamming her, and that there was no compensation coming at the end of the summer for her VERY EXPENSIVE international plane ticket! What was the girl to do?

She cancelled her return fair, and remained in the country. She called a Culinary Recruiter and explained her situation to a very nice man, and he said he could help her find "LEGAL EMPLOYMENT with a proper work permit", and that he did!...sort of. The next hotel that hired her on as a Sous Chef, gave her a photo copy of her "work permit" to stuff into her passport and carry as "Legal Status" of her long-term stay and employment. Then through a series of sexually abusive encounters with her Head Chef, the girl decides to call the Culinary Recruiter again to see if he can place her elsewhere, and gets- in the process-fired from her position as Sous Chef at the second hotel in which she was FALESLY "legally employed".

You see...She found out later that the photo copy of the work permit she had received was an old work permit of a former employee that had her picture pasted to it and some names and dates "edited" and then Xeroxed for the girl to carry about in order to feel comfortable while still being "charged" income taxes that the Hotel was withholding for the girl's check and obviously keeping for themselves.

None of this was made clear until the girl took her copied work permit to an actual Immigration Worker's office to see about an extension. Then she was called into the back of the office and told of her illegal status and told that she needed to find "legal" work within 60 days or face deportation.

She called the Culinary Recruiter in hysterical tears! She came to his office, where he felt very sorry for helping to get her into this mess and promised to get her out of it. He did, indeed, make good on his word. He found her a legal job, with a legal work permit attached. The trouble was that, the work permit was attached to the EMPLOYER that had paid all the legal fees to hire her and get her into their 4 Michelin Star restaurant and Hotel. The Girl was now trapped, almost as a slave-type-employee: Head Chef to this Hotel and the owners!!!

She was treated reasonably well throughout her one-year's tenure at this Restaurant/Hotel, and she had settled into a nice house and had made one of the best friends that she had ever made in her roommate. The trouble was that she was working 14 hours or more per day, six days per week. Her health was failing. She went to the doctor, who told her that she had Carpel Tunnel in her right wrist, arthritis in both feet, and tennis elbow in both arms. The Hotel refused to give her any leave of absence to get her health issues resolved. They insisted on her working out her contract with threats of legal action, and jail time for the girl if she reneged on her obligations, and legally binding contract, to the hotel for paying her legal work-permit-fees. She worked out her tenure and decided that it was time to get her health in order.

There was no extension to her work permit offered by the hotel (who had used her up and spit her out)... her health was in jeopardy, and she was faced with a tough decision...

She was forced by circumstance, finally, to pack it in and give up her dream, and go home to a messy divorce where she lost EVERYTHING because she had "abandoned" her husband. She lost everything she had spent TWO WHOLE YEARS trying to achieve. It was all in vein.

That GIRL was ME, and the country I was in was IRELAND.

I spent several more years after I came home working in Charleston, SC for a great restaurant ( Anson St. CafĂ©-on Anson St. in Charleston). I made lots of friends. I still adore my Chefs (Michael Mount and Tracy Lemmonds). I was their Pastry Chef, and so happy to be there. Mikey and Tracy treated me like gold, and I still love them for it!

BUT...I learned a great lesson in being in Ireland. Even an American Citizen can undergo what the people in the above/below article suffer every damn day here in the USA!

 As someone who literally feels their pain and hopelessness, I want every person who eats out in a restaurant from now on to think about the illegal status of anyone working there, as a legal form of slavery!!!

This is the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave"! If they are brave enough to come here seeking freedom, then we should at least pay them a decent wage and offer them LEGAL STATUS for doing so...DAMMIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please watch the video again! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZEUwvIHdSs

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