True to our name, we spend a lot of time here talking about, well, real food and real jobs: good-tasting, sustainably-produced food that is harvested, prepared, cooked and served by individuals who are respected for the important work that they do. Even so, sometimes it’s hard to explain what exactly that means. That’s why we’re doubly excited to share the following articles about UNITE HERE members—one in Chicago and one in Toronto (because, hey, we’re international), which do a wonderful job of spotlighting the work from the outside. Check them out, and even better, pay them a visit the next time you’re in their cities!
member of UNITE HERE Local Local 75, Toronto
“Scarborough chef honoured for his French-Caribbean fusion cuisine,” Inside Toronto
Originally from Jamaica, Beckford got his start in the kitchen at a young age. He’s been submerged in the culinary world since he was 15 years old when he accidentally got a job in the kitchen at the Morgan’s Harbour Hotel in Port Royal, Jamaica while sneaking around the pool area one summer.
“A guy sitting around the bar called me over and asked me what I was doing there. And I said I was looking for a summer job,” recalled Beckford.
“He laughed and told me to go in the kitchen and see what I can do and maybe he’ll take me on for the summer. I went in and saw a person doing flambé, with fire coming out the pot and people cutting with knives so fast and I was like ‘whoa!’”
member of UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago
“Navy Pier’s Most Requested Server,” Groupon
“…Acie is a longtime server at restaurants in and around Chicago. For more than 16 years he’s been at Riva, where he’s a senior (and rumor has it, the most requested) server. He’s also a member of Chicago’s union for hotel and restaurant employees, which means health care and a pension, often nothing short of a dream for those in the service industry.
Groupon: What’s one thing you want people to know about your job as a server?
Acie Boyd: Just remember, I’m there to help you. Talk to me, tell me what you want. It’s not about coming in and spending a lot of money; that’s not what I’m looking for. We do get guests that live it up, no doubt about it. But that’s not what I’m about, or what we’re about as a restaurant. I want it to be the experience you’re looking for. If you’re just looking for a cocktail and the view, that’s fine. And if you want to learn about Chicago, I’ll talk. Just tell me.”