Monica Marulanda regularly arrives to work at 5:30 a.m. at the renowned No. 9 Park, where she prepares the award-winning pasta. Originally from Colombia, she got a foot in the door at the restaurant and, through the guidance and support of her mentor Barbara Lynch, has risen as a prized contributor to the local culinary scene.
Across town, Marcos Che Cucul bikes from his rented apartment in Allston to his job as prep cook in a restaurant on Boylston Street. He also washes dishes at a Commonwealth Avenue restaurant near Boston University. The immigrant from Guatemala works about 12 hours a day, six days a week for barely the minimum wage, making about $550 weekly. He only takes Saturdays off.