Hopeful Chefs Receive Second Chance From Upscale French Restaurant in Cleveland!

Posted by GreaterGoodness

Getting a job after serving a stint in prison is one of the biggest hurdles that an ex-con has to deal with when he re-enters society – but one business in Cleveland, Ohio, is all about second chances. Edwin’s Restaurant, an upscale French eatery, not only puts ex-cons to work, but also gives them intensive culinary training in the process, preparing them for success, and hopefully, setting their lives back on course. Edwin’s Restaurant owner Brandon Chrostowski oversees the training of ex-cons on his payroll, giving them 40 to 50 hours of training each week for a six-month period. Trainees learn about everything from wines to food prep, and then they put what they learn into action in the kitchen.

Each week, students in his class receive a stipend as well as donations left by diners. Chrostowski, through his nonprofit program, also helps trainees find needed services, such as counseling and housing.

Chrostowski’s efforts to help offenders is his way of paying it forward. In his teens, Chrostowski was arrested and faced a 10-year prison sentence, but a judge sentenced him to probation instead. It was while he was on probation that he met a chef who became his mentor and who instilled in him a love of the culinary arts.

Through his work with offenders at Edwin’s Restaurant, Chrostowski is able to mentor ex-felons and help them enter into rewarding careers.

As of 2016, 114 students have graduated from Chrostowski’s program, and nine out of 10 of them are employed. None of the program’s participants have returned to jail. This figure is significant, since statistics hold that within three years of being released from prison, around 67.8 percent of offenders are arrested for other crimes, many of them within the first year of release. Programs like this help to stem the tide of recidivism among offenders through training and mentoring. Do you have a second chance story? Please share!

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