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Bill Smith has been the chef at Crook's Corner, a restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for nearly two decades. In 2011, Crook's Corner was honored with The James Beard Foundation's America's Classic Award - a distinction for locally owned restaurants "beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community," according to the Foundation.
In addition to his cookbook Seasoned in the South, Smith often writes on the topic of immigrants in the professional kitchen - including recipes inspired by staff and his own travel journals from Mexico.
"In a restaurant kitchen, chances are good that your dishwasher won’t speak English as a first language. There are lots of reasons for this," says Smith.
"For starts, you can wash dishes in any language so a lack of English needn’t be a hindrance to the new arrival. I’ve been a chef for over twenty years. Here are five things to be said in favor of continuing this custom, offered in a time when people are being very snippy about these very nice people."
2. You get exposed to lots of great new stuff.
3. You help children.
4. Barriers come down.
5. Unless you are throwing in the towel on our future they are not really taking American jobs.
And for Mexico's influence on Smith's cooking:
Sweet Potato Tamales
Note: You should be able to find all of the odd ingredients at Latino grocery stores. There is one on every corner down here.
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