Undocumented Mexican chef Cristina Martinez has captured the media’s attention in recent months, thanks to the food at El Compadre, her modest restaurant in South Philadelphia.
After almost 10 years, she's been recognized by Bon Appétit, Zagat and James Beard; as well as by Mayor Jim Kenney, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia and several film and television producers.
But even more than her food, she’s being heralded for her activism.
Martinez escaped domestic violence in Mexico and settled in Philadelphia in 2009. From there she has helped to spur an urgent discussion in the Trump era: the need for an end to the criminalization of more than one million undocumented restaurant workers. Despite being fundamental to the U.S. hospitality industry, these immigrants live with the constant fear of deportation.
Last year, Univision produced a Spanish-language
podcast, called “Mejor vete, Cristina,” about Martinez’s story.
Coordination: Jessica Weiss, Olivia Liendo and Allie Jaynes.
Illustrations: Grace Berríos and Jackie Albano.
Web design and development: Juan Jesús Gómez.
Editorial: Nathalie Alvaray, Tamoa Calzadilla, Juliana Jiménez, Douglas Gómez and Rogerio Manzano.
Photo Editing: David Maris.
This story was produced in collaboration with Univision Contigo, Univision's social responsibility team.