Summary of Behind the Kitchen Door

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Behind the Kitchen Door book summary
How restaurants treat the people who pack, cook and serve your food affects everything you eat.


7 Overall

6 Applicability

8 Innovation

7 Style


Americans are rethinking how they eat. They want organic, fresh, local food sourced from humanely treated animals. But sadly, they mostly ignore the people who package, cut, clean, prepare and cook their food. Saru Jayaraman – founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), an advocacy group for restaurant workers – reports that many food industry employees face dangerous, abusive working conditions. She profiles employees who have dealt with stolen wages, underpayment, working when sick or injured, discrimination or sexual harassment. Each chapter offers another sad example. One ray of hope is the ROC, which works “to improve wages and working conditions for the nation’s 10 million restaurant workers.” While cautioning readers that other points of view often counter presentations from passionate advocates like Jayaraman, getAbstract recommends her vivid report to diners and restaurant managers who want to make a difference. If she’s right, even in part, something is rotten in the kitchen.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How most restaurants mistreat workers,
  • What the head of the Restaurant Opportunities Center reports about their working conditions and
  • What you can do.


Menu, Please
Americans are thinking more about where their food comes from, and they’re concerned about decent treatment for food-source animals. But they think far less about the people who prepare and serve their food. While celebrity chefs rake in millions, many of their employees ...
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About the Author

Saru Jayaraman co-founded and co-runs Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which publishes the ROC National Diners’ Guide for consumers.

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    K Tikku 4 years ago
    It is very sad that society at large likes good food served at restaurant,s but is oblivious of the sufferings of the people behind the kitchen doors.

More on this topic

Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    Here’s some food for thought about today’s food industry. But be warned: Some facts might give you a stomachache.

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