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September 11, 2018

South Philly Barbacoa will be featured on Netflix's 'Chef's Table'

Chef and activist Cristina Martinez shared her story with the show, which will air Sept. 28

Food & Drink Netflix
South Philly Barbacoa Source/South Philly Barbacoa

Cristina Martinez prepares food at South Philly Barbacoa, an acclaimed weekend-only restaurant located at 1703 S. 11th St. in East Passyunk.

Season 5 of Netflix's "Chef's Table" premieres this month and it's all kicking off in Philly. 

The first episode features Cristina Martinez, the chef/co-owner of the Mexican restaurant South Philly Barbacoa, Eater reported. Martinez is the city's very own BBQ expert and an outspoken activist for undocumented restaurant workers' rights.

The episode will be available to stream Friday, Sept. 28, and takes a deep dive into Martinez's family recipe for that fall-off-the-bone lamb barbacoa and pancita. But it also delves into the chef's work for undocumented people in the U.S. and their fight for work and proper wages. Martinez wants more people to know that many of the people working in restaurant kitchens here in the U.S. are undocumented workers, just like her.

Martinez has been open about publicizing her undocumented status, especially over the last few months. She was featured on Bon Appetit's 10 Best New Restaurants List, Ugly Delicious (also on Netflix) and Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

The chef fled her home in Mexico to escape an abusive ex-husband and eventually landed in Philadelphia, where she would open South Philly Barbacoa (the second iteration is now on Ninth and Ellsworth streets) and her son, who has since passed away, would open El Compardre.

The "Chef's Table" episode was filmed in August. Crews recorded footage in South Philly but also with Martinez's family in Capulhuac, Mexico, Generocity reported.

The new season of the foodie series features seven other chefs, including Thai chef Bo Songvisava, Turkish chef Musa Dağdeviren, and Spain's Albert Adrià.

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