Tony came to Inspiration Kitchens in the fall of 2012. His son was a student at Stewart School just down the street, and he stopped in to find out about our programs. He was struggling to find work, having recently moved back from the suburbs where he was living with his fiance. He always had good cooking skills, making meals out of his home and selling them to people here and there to make money.

With only part time work in the city, he turned to Inspiration Kitchens to finally formalize his training. He had a tough time with the math test at orientation, as he’s always had trouble with math, but his son actually helped him with some concepts before he took the test, and got a passing grade by exactly one question.

Tony found it to be an exceptional experience at Inspiration Kitchens.

“It was nothing short of sensational. Everyone embraced me, and took the time to make sure I was learning the concepts.”

Tony found great comfort in hearing the stories of other students in the class. He tried giving them little bits of wisdom about finding work and housing, much like others did for him. He graduated in March, and was very appreciative of his case manager who wasted no time in getting him information about jobs.

Yet, by chance, he was walking by Bop N Grill in Rogers Park, and walked in to ask about work. He handed the manager a resume, got a call back that night, and was in the kitchen working by the end of the week. His supervisors there were very impressed, and started him on the schedule full-time right away.

Tony has no plans to leave the restaurant, he’s in it “for the long haul”, as he says. This busy, popular establishment helps him work on his one shortcoming in the kitchen, his speed at getting dishes prepared. He’s always done catering as a side job, making his famous jerk chicken on weekends and selling it to people in the park or barbershop, but has never had to prepare dishes this quickly. Hopefully, all of this experience will allow him to someday run his own restaurant, but for now, Tony is happy where he is given the circumstances.

UPDATE 7/18:  Tony will also be working at Rivers Casino as a cook, and will be able to manage both positions. Way to go Tony!