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“Forked” Examines Plight of Restaurant Workers

Downtown New Albany may have one of the highest concentrations of dining establishments anywhere and there’s no sign of the growth tapering off. Yet, if local news reports can be believed, it’s becoming harder and harder to find workers willing to take jobs in this corner of the hospitality industry.


Forked: A New Standard for American Dining critiques less-examined aspects of restaurant worker exploitation, considering such topics as food preparers who must work while sick because of benefit limits and sexual harassment endured by tip-dependent servers.

The workers and the entrepreneurs powering New Albany’s restaurant explosion may well want to add this book to their shelves.

A restaurant critic can tell you about the chef. A menu can tell you about the farm-sourced ingredients. Now who’s going to tell you about the people preparing your meal?

From James Beard Leadership Award winner Saru Jayaraman, Forked is an enlightening examination of what we don’t talk about when we talk about restaurants: Is the line cook working through a case of stomach flu because he doesn’t get paid sick days? Is the busser not being promoted because he speaks with an accent? Is the server tolerating sexual harassment because tips are her only income?

As most corporate restaurants continue to set low standards for worker wages and benefits, a new class of chefs and restaurateurs is working to foster sustainability in their food and their employees. Forked offers an insider’s view of the highest–and lowest–scoring restaurants for worker pay and benefits in each sector of the restaurant industry, and with it, a new way of thinking about how and where we eat.

Find out more here.
About arsriparia (8 Articles)
Director of Arts Along the Ohio Charities, Inc. in New Albany, Indiana.
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