Darrell, a Foodservice Apprentice Graduate, Shares His Story

August 1, 2018

FareStart opened doors for me when I feared no one would give me a chance.

I decided to apply for the Adult Culinary Program while in prison and enrolled just a few weeks after getting out. I was determined to make something of my life, to prove that I wasn’t the sum total of the worst mistakes I’d made.

Every day, I showed up at FareStart eager to learn. I mastered knife skills I didn’t realize I needed. I learned ways to communicate respectfully, even in stressful moments, which happen all the time in busy kitchens.

I worked hard, asked lots of questions, and had a job lined up before graduating. I started out with a catering company, refined my skills, then heard about an opening at Altstadt Bierhalle & Brathaus. I went for it. It was my kind of restaurant. They make just about everything on their menu from scratch: sausages, pretzels, sauerkraut … even ketchup, mayo and mustard.

During my interview, Executive Chef Megan Coombes didn’t ask me about the mistakes in my past. She focused on the skills I’d learned at FareStart and how I’d contribute to her team. She could tell I was serious about advancing my career.

I got the job, and about a year and a half later, Chef Megan encouraged me to apply for FareStart’s new Foodservice Apprenticeship Program. What a great opportunity. I worked six days a week, juggling my Altstadt job with my apprenticeship at Maslow’s by FareStart.

It was just the boost I needed. I developed even more specialized culinary skills and greater confidence in my ability to problem-solve and collaborate. When I got promoted to sous chef at Altstadt, I wasn’t sure if I was ready — but I embraced the opportunity to keep learning, growing and leading.

Someday, I hope to run a restaurant of my own, maybe a soup kitchen, too. I want to give back somehow, to give hope to people who need a second chance, like I did.

FareStart has given me so much — most of all the courage to believe that anything is possible, that I can do anything I set my mind to achieving.