Food & Drink

On the Line: Four Stories of Cooking in American Restaurants

Published On 05/29/2019 Published On 05/29/2019
Yeferson Vasquez portrait
Vasquez learned English on the job when he moved to Boston from Colombia at age 16. | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Vasquez works two cooking jobs, getting about three hours of sleep per night. | Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Vasquez swiftly climbed from busser to line cook at Stats Bar & Grille. | Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Vasquez and his wife met at a family Christmas party, and saved together to buy a condo in the Boston suburb of Revere. | Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Saravanan grew up on a farm in south India, and developed a reputation as the best fish cook amongst his friends. | Sana Javeri Kadri/Thrillist

Some mornings, Saravanan calls his mom to talk recipes before he starts cooking at DOSA, a restaurant that has changed Indian food in America. | Sana Javeri Kadri/Thrillist
Saravanan makes up to 50 pounds of curry a day on weekends. | Sana Javeri Kadri/Thrillist
On his days off on Tuesdays, Saravan plays cricket with his friends in the morning and volleyball at night. | Sana Javeri Kadri/Thrillist
Hess and her sister moved to New Orleans from Michigan’s upper peninsula with two young brothers to care for, after her mother died of cancer. | William Widmer/Thrillist

Determined to get into the kitchen, Hess started out in New Orleans as a dishwasher, before a number of cooking jobs led her to a position as pastry chef. | William Widmer/Thrillist
On top of her work duties, Hess cares for her younger brother who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy. | William Widmer/Thrillist
Hess now lives with her two brothers and her husband, who she met in New Orleans at one of her kitchen jobs. | William Widmer/Thrillist
Gonzalez and her mother commuted two hours each way from Idaho to Jackson, Wyoming where wages were better, before eventually relocating permanently. | Lindley Rust/Thrillist
After a full day of school, teenage Gonzalez’s work day has just begun. | Lindley Rust/Thrillist
Gonzalez’s repertoire includes dishes like pappardelle with braised beef cheeks. | Lindley Rust/Thrillist