26 min

#104: Brandon Chrostowski — James Beard Nominated Chef, Restaurateur, Sommelier, Fromager, Politician, and Founder, President, and CEO of Edwins Leadership & Restaurant Institute Bring It In | The Future of Work, Jobs, and Education

    • Business

The restaurant and hospitality industry is one of the leading sources of jobs not just in America, but across the globe. What an individual learns working in a kitchen, front of house, behind a bar, or in support of a restaurant can serve as lifelong skills to develop across industries.

Chef Brandon Edwin Chrostowski knows this better than most people, not just because he’s made a career for himself in the restaurant industry, but he’s made it his goal to give as many people as possible a career in the space alongside him, with Edwins Leadership & Restaurant Institute.

At eighteen years old Chef Brandon received a ‘break’ from a judge who gave him a year of probation instead of a ten year prison sentence. After his probation, he studied under Detroit Chef George Kalergis, and worked his way to the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

Upon graduating from the CIA, Chef Brandon worked in renowned kitchens around the world like Charlie Trotters, Lucas Carton, and Le Cirque. Then in 2007, Chef Brandon founded Edwins Leadership & Restaurant Institute, which trains people returning from court involvement in the culinary arts, empower them with a passion for hospitality management, and prepare students for a successful transition home. The Impact of Edwins was so great, it was the subject of the 2017 Oscar nominated documentary Knife Skills.

So far hundreds of folks have passed through the 6 month program at Edwins, and graduates have held a 95% employment rate with less than 1% recidivism into the court system. In addition, Edwins has expanded to include a butcher shop, bakery, a sister restaurant location, and with a full blown housing complex and campus.

If it’s not already obvious why we wanted to talk with Chef Brandon already, we wanted to sit down with him to discuss what it takes to build a winning culture, the importance of giving everyone the support and opportunity to work, and the power of food, restaurants, and treating everyone with respect and dignity.

This is definitely an episode you’re not going to want to miss, so with that…let’s bring it in!

The restaurant and hospitality industry is one of the leading sources of jobs not just in America, but across the globe. What an individual learns working in a kitchen, front of house, behind a bar, or in support of a restaurant can serve as lifelong skills to develop across industries.

Chef Brandon Edwin Chrostowski knows this better than most people, not just because he’s made a career for himself in the restaurant industry, but he’s made it his goal to give as many people as possible a career in the space alongside him, with Edwins Leadership & Restaurant Institute.

At eighteen years old Chef Brandon received a ‘break’ from a judge who gave him a year of probation instead of a ten year prison sentence. After his probation, he studied under Detroit Chef George Kalergis, and worked his way to the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

Upon graduating from the CIA, Chef Brandon worked in renowned kitchens around the world like Charlie Trotters, Lucas Carton, and Le Cirque. Then in 2007, Chef Brandon founded Edwins Leadership & Restaurant Institute, which trains people returning from court involvement in the culinary arts, empower them with a passion for hospitality management, and prepare students for a successful transition home. The Impact of Edwins was so great, it was the subject of the 2017 Oscar nominated documentary Knife Skills.

So far hundreds of folks have passed through the 6 month program at Edwins, and graduates have held a 95% employment rate with less than 1% recidivism into the court system. In addition, Edwins has expanded to include a butcher shop, bakery, a sister restaurant location, and with a full blown housing complex and campus.

If it’s not already obvious why we wanted to talk with Chef Brandon already, we wanted to sit down with him to discuss what it takes to build a winning culture, the importance of giving everyone the support and opportunity to work, and the power of food, restaurants, and treating everyone with respect and dignity.

This is definitely an episode you’re not going to want to miss, so with that…let’s bring it in!

26 min

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