As a teen, Brandon Chrostowski needed a second chance. He was arrested and faced a 5-10 year sentence, but the judge gave him a year of probation instead. During that year, Brandon met a chef who mentored him until he knew he wanted to spend his life in a kitchen, not in jail. Now he's giving the same opportunity to other men and women leaving prison. He started a luxurious French restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. It's called Edwins Leadership and Restaurant, and all the employees are ex-offenders.
He wanted to build a restaurant "that teaches everything I was taught, all the little lessons of humility and hard work and respect, the skill of a team." Employees get a free, six-month career course, and a $350 bi-weekly stipend for their work. After a day of instruction, they work evenings cooking and serving classical French food to Edwins' patrons. Many eateries suffer a lack of skilled labor, and 35 restaurants who are currently waiting to hire Edwins graduates. Best of all, not one of Edwin's 90-plus graduates has returned to prison. Not one.