Food labor activist Saru Jayaraman says the restaurant industry is “the floor of our economy… it is literally the worst employer in the United States.”
So what happens when she gets together with two world renowned chefs to talk about the business and everything from sustainable farming to food politics? To find out, TIME invited Chefs José Andrés and Barton Seaver to sit down with Jayaraman in New York City as part of a new video series that brings pioneers of different backgrounds together in conversation. The discussion was lively and wide ranging.
Andrés, a former TIME 100 honoree who has built a restaurant empire and advocates for clean cookstoves in developing countries, wants to raise the minimum wage to make kitchen working conditions better. “People don’t want our pity, people want our respect,” he said. “How do we give them respect is to pay them what they deserve.” Seaver, a chef in Maine and contributing seafood editor for Time Inc.’s Coastal Living, says he’s hopeful because restaurants are focusing more on the quality and sourcing of food.
Watch the video above to see what else these three culinary trailblazers think about the future of the restaurant industry.