How do restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in
America? And how do poor working conditions--discrimination,
exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens--affect the meals that arrive at our
restaurant tables? In Behind the Kitchen Door, Saru Jayaraman sets out
to answer these questions by following the lives of restaurant workers in
nine major cities.
Blending personal narrative and investigative journalism, Behind the
Kitchen Door is a groundbreaking exploration of the political, economic,
and moral implications of dining out. Jayaraman sets out a bold agenda
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.
Saru recently discussed Behind The Kitchen Door on CNN's Starting Point
with Soledad O'Brien. Watch the interview here.
Saru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant
Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and the Director of the Food Labor
Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together
with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC in New York,
which has organized restaurant workers to win workplace justice campaigns,
conduct research and policy work, partner with responsible restaurants, and
launch cooperatively-owned restaurants. ROC now has 9000 members in 19
The story of Saru and her co-founder’s work founding ROC has been chronicled in the book The Accidental American. Ms. Jayaraman co-edited The New Urban Immigrant Workforce, (ME Sharpe, 2005). 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’ “Newsmaker of the Year,” and one of New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City.