I agree with robert40 when he wrote that my story is common in a lot of American kitchens. But what Cooked provides is a voice to people that no one hears about. Most restaurants can’t afford the CIA grads, so they hire the dreads of the world, the ones the general public knows nothing about. These are the boot strap cooks that prepare the food in most James Beard award winning resturants. The great chefs that are out there deserve a lot of respect, but we must give these cooks their just due. More than that, giving second chances to people with backgrounds like mine is important not just to fill the jobs that need to be filled, but to help the people around us. I’m very appreciative of all the people that have helped me along my path to become a chef, and now that I’m an executive chef I do all I can to make sure that I give opportunities to people that need them.
Thank you everyone for welcoming me to eGullet. I really appreciate your support. And I am very pleased with the posstive feed back from eGullet readers concerning COOKED. I wrote COOKED to inspire and change lives while at the same time to share the excitement of life in a kitchen, including dangerous ones like the ones in prison, and the reality of street life. My hunger for great food fuled my passion to want learn to cook after being on the dish washing crew. I felt strong and confident while in the prison kitchen, it became the turning point in my journey toward full redemtion. Before then I had done many things that I’m not proud of. For the first time, cooking for the other inmates, I was getting pats on the back and it felt great. It made me believe that I could do something positive with my life, that I could be a chef. Hopfully the food world can change others as well. That’s what I hope readers get from my story.