LONG BEACH, Calif. – Restaurant kitchens can be diverse places and can make food that is much tastier.

Executive chef Manuel Bañuelos started at Padre soon after it opened in Long Beach. He is from Guadalajara. His coworkers are from a lot of different places. You might be able to taste that variety in the food.

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“They’re from the south or the north. I’m central Mexico and it’s like oh my mom does it like this and like let’s try it. It’s always a melting pot of flavors,” said Bañuelos.

Bañuelos and his now wife came to America just a couple years ago. They got tourist visas and work permits.

The decision to move wasn’t easy to make. In Mexico he owned several taco spots, but he sold everything. He was worried about the cartels.

“Whatever restaurant is making a little bit of money they will come and ask you for money and stuff so we decided to have a better life,” said Bañuelos.

Now their tourist visas have expired. Bañuelos and his wife could get deported if they are not granted asylum. They have already been to court once.

It’s a familiar situation in his line of work.

“Like I think it’s 90 percent of the restaurant industry are immigrants,” said Bañuelos.

Bañuelos and his wife are waiting for their next court date scheduled for September 2021.