Cristina Martinez is a Mexican chef and immigration activist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Cristina is a native of Capulhuac, Mexico, and she is an undocumented immigrant who crossed the border from Juárez into the United States.
She found a job in Philadelphia as a pastry chef in an Italian restaurant, where she met and married Benjamin Miller, a U.S. citizen. Cristina was fired from the restaurant when they discovered her undocumented status, and she began cooking food for other Mexican workers in her apartment.
As demand grew for Cristina's home-made barbacoa, she and Miller began selling tacos from a pushcart on weekends. In 2015, they opened a permanent restaurant, South Philly Barbacoa. In 2016, Bon Appetit magazine named it one of the top ten best new restaurants in America. Cristina and Miller are active in supporting undocumented immigrants in the restaurant industry, establishing an organization, the Popular Alliance for Undocumented Workers' Rights. In 2017, Univision produced a Spanish-language podcast about Cristina, called Mejor vete, Cristina (You Better Leave, Cristina), which won Mejor Cobertura Multimedia (Best Multimedia Coverage) at the 2018 Ortega y Gasset Awards. Cristina was also featured on an episode of the Netflix series Chef's Table in 2018. In 2019, Cristina was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic.