The thing about Brandon Chrostowski is that he sounds enough like a politician—he can expertly criticize his opponents without mentioning their names and appeal to the "little" people even as he himself belongs to the upper middle class—that he can fool you into thinking he's worked in a boardroom his entire life and not a kitchen.
But then the Cleveland mayoral candidate lets loose. He curses—a lot. He's also a true believer inthe idealism he's pushing. Soon, he starts to sound less like a politician and more like who he is: EDWINS' founder.
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In 2013, Chrostowski—a sommelier, fromager, and a member of the Cleveland restaurant elite—left his job at the prestigious French brasserie L'Albatros to launch EDWINS Restaurant, a storefront restaurant staffed by the graduates of a longstanding prison program by the same name. Since 2007, Chrostowski has entered prisons—starting at Grafton Correctional Institution and Northeast Pre-Release Center—and taught convicted felons restaurant skills from the very basic (culinary math and safe serving practices) to the more advanced (wine pairings and the history of food). His restaurant in Shaker Square has won national recognition and the love of the community with many members that don't realize the man or woman serving their charcuterie tray may have once held up a gas station.