I knew a Mexican

I’ve known a lot of Mexicans in the restaurant business, which used to be a thing in Saratoga before ICE started getting rid of the good dishwashers, prep cooks, and line cooks.

Saratoga in general wants good restaurants, luxury hotels, and a well-groomed city.  What they don’t want (in general) is Mexicans, low-income housing, and it’s less fortunate showcased on Broadway.  Saratoga has gotten rid of most of the Mexicans, (but still loves to celebrate and profit from Cinco de Mayo to its fullest).

Americans love Mexican food, especially tacos.

Americans love products made with cheap labor.

Too many Americans use the drugs run by the cartels who can make life difficult for people trying to live a decent and simple life which in part causes the influx of people coming across the southern border to escape the violence and to improve their lot in life by doing the jobs Americans are unwilling to do or do well.

One issue with running a kitchen in Saratoga is that Saratogians don’t raise a lot of dishwashers and line cooks. Too many of the white young folks in Saratoga have no sense of responsibility, no sense of urgency, and no work ethic.  Concerts, family trips, birthday parties, and hanging with friends seems more important than learning the value of employment. Of course, if you don’t need the employment, that employment has zero to little value.  The reality is that I prefer people who need a job and are committed to it.  I’ll even take that over young people who tell me they want a culinary career but can’t seem to be able to be committed for whatever reason.  Nope, give me an energetic young person who needs the job, and can learn, that’s who I want working for me.

When you take great risks to cross the border however you can for work, you are clearly 100% in need of a job, and chances are you’re going to be thankful for your employment, show up on time, and not ask for every other weekend off.

Many years ago, one such young man was presented to me at the kitchen door.  He spoke no English, he was anxious, and tremendously out of his comfortable, yet uncomfortable environment.  I gave him a job despite what I may have known to be true about this young man. His paperwork checked out with the payroll company, so I had done my due diligence.

The young Mexican quickly learned English, his 4th language, got his own apartment, and as it turns out was a great trumpet player.  He was also a committed employee.  This is more than I can say about too many of the young people I have hired in Saratoga restaurants.

I’ve sat and shared meals with a good number of Mexicans, all of them a pleasure to break bread with.  Tortillas actually.  I’ve learned about Mexican cooking and culture, and I’ve learned that building more tables and fewer fences (or walls) is the best way to make our small world a better place.

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