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Highlights from “Lore & Larder, Profit & Pleasure: Changing Relationships in Philly’s Vibrant Restaurant Scene”

December 06, 2013

By Angela Hooks, SAS ‘14

On December 2nd, Penn Law students and the public received a behind the scenes look at Philly’s restaurant industry. Instead of focusing on food, Lore & Larder, Profit & Pleasure: Changing Relationships in Philly’s Vibrant Restaurant Scene focused on restaurant employees. The event was co-sponsored by the Penn Program on Documentaries & the Law and the Drexel Center for Hospitality and Sport Management.

The event opened with a screening of “Food for Thought: The Social Cost of Eating Out,” a Penn Law student documentary. “Food for Thought” explored two aspects of restaurant employment in detail – wage theft and the lack of paid sick leave - from the perspectives of restaurant employees and workers’ rights advocates.

A panel discussion followed the screening, which included a multitude of perspectives that expanded upon the topics discussed in the documentary. The panel included Kevin Sbraga, owner of Sbraga and The Fat Ham; Sophia Lee, chief litigation counsel of Sunoco and co-owner of Bistro 7; Drew Lazor, food columnist for the Daily News, Calvin Okunoye, former restaurant worker and current workers’ rights advocate with the Restaurant Opportunity Center; and Dania Rajendra, associate director of the Neighborhood Funders Group and culinary student.

Rick Nichols, a Penn food-writing lecturer and food columnist, moderated the panel and offered his own insights into the restaurant industry. In addition, he asked hard-hitting questions about how restaurant owners should treat their employees, whether minimum wage should be considered fair, and how restaurant goers can positively contribute to the restaurant workers’ rights movement.

Panel members, as well as the documentary, urged audience members to ask questions and walk away from restaurants that are known for unfair worker treatment, even if the food is good.

To view the documentary, visit: