How Robin Song Went From Rebellious Teen to Superstar Chef

Chef Robin Song discusses how he fell in with the wrong crowd at a young age, and how cooking helped him turn his life around.

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[MUSIC] Jeez. I started hanging out with the wrong group of kids way too early. Dropped out in the ninth grade Did nothing but hang out with gangsters and drug dealers. Filled most of my days with getting high and getting drunk and selling drugs to college students. [MUSIC] I was a horrible drug dealer. [LAUGH] I was 15 years, I just wanted to party too much. That's pretty much the end of the story. Straight to thus bum little jail in the middle of no where Oregon. Every day I woke up and looked around you know. There was a guy in there who was trying to fight a murder case. His bag said John Doe. He literally wouldn't give them that information. And I'm just like, what am I doing here. LIke I this is not this is not right. This is not for me. Finally saw the judge, made a deal with them so I could try to start a new life, essentially. [MUSIC] Came back to California, decided maybe I should get my **** together. I don't really have much to offer to society. [LAUGH] [MUSIC] Dealing drugs never really sat well with me. And as I grew up and gained the conscience [LAUGH] it was really hard to beg, borrow and steal to make my ends meet. I ended up getting my GED and then had to find legitimate work. At the time I was living around the corner from Beowulf in Oakland. And then I just walked in and I was like are you guys hiring? I need a job. And it was kinda like the beginning of the end really. I have a very addictive personality. I'll just latch onto anything and not stop until I beat it over the head. [MUSIC] I literally just put my head down, get through the prep list. By the time my shift ended, it was right around dinner service, and I literally just sit there on the sink and watch the line cook. To be immersed in that all day, every day, allowed me to see a part of food that I didn't really know existed. [MUSIC] Fast food, kimchi and rice. [LAUGH] Like my staples I guess. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] I was very interested in plum in Oakland. [MUSIC] Work in that open kitchen environment and like being face to face with the customers. I think that point is when I really realize that this is something I love doing. [MUSIC] The part about cooking that really ultimately satisfies me is the joy and happiness that people have. [MUSIC] I'm giving someone a truly good experience and a happy moment as opposed to [INAUDIBLE] That feeling for me is, I mean, that's my adrenaline. That's my drug now. [MUSIC]
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How Robin Song Went From Rebellious Teen to Superstar Chef