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Letter: Experience with refugees provides food for thought

Experience with refugees provides food for thought

Within the food industry, specifically the restaurant business, more often than not diverse ethnic people will be welcomed as guests and customers to take part in the feast you are meticulously preparing for the day.

Even more often, varieties of folks will present as kitchen staff. The very first questions proposed relate to experience, education and past performance.

Prior to my husband taking over the primary evening kitchen position in our restaurant, three Muslim students applied and were hired for the job. They prepped for potato pancakes, cooked pierogi, schnitzel, spaetzle and golabki. They were a joy in the kitchen, full of speed, humor and attentiveness. When one missed a shift, another fully trained brother stepped in his place. After returning to their studies at the University at Buffalo, they remained friends with the staff and visited frequently.

Our food supplies were delivered promptly by a Bosnian refugee. He disclosed how the Serbian army burned his home as he and his wife and children watched from afar. He fled to a camp, then was subsequently relocated to Buffalo. He was a former physicians assistant in Bosnia and tried unsuccessfully to relocate his mother here. I did have the opportunity to meet his son, who one day accompanied him on his delivery route.

Yes, there was a little old Polish lady at the stove in our Polish/German restaurant. But what helped create our success was the earnest hard work of our employees who shared the flavor of their heritage with our family. It’s food for thought while thinking about closing the door and our assistance to immigrants.

Janice Schlau