Antonio’s Story of Hope & Courage


“I’m grateful for this chance to have a set, steady job and spend more time with my kids.”

Antonio is passionate about two things: cooking and children.

When Antonio became a young father, he dropped out of high school to work at a fast food restaurant. Since then he’s worked a variety of jobs but never found a way to break the cycle of living one week at a time. He always dreamed of going back to school, but could never afford the tuition. Through his older brother, Antonio got to know Chef Kenneth Neal and started working under him at his catering company.

“When Kenny realized that I was the cook in the family, he took me under his wing,” explained Antonio. “I guess you could say it’s his way of paying it forward.

On Kenny’s recommendation, Antonio applied to Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program. While he was familiar with cooking for a crowd, Antonio learned terminology, processes and skills during the 16-week program to better prepare him for a sustainable career.

“My kids are proud of me,” he said. “I’ve shown them that if you work hard and commit to what you’re doing, anything is possible.”

Today, Antonio is working as a cook at Isleworth Country Club with the goal of starting his own business one day. “I want to leave a legacy for my kids,” he said.

The Second Harvest Culinary Training Program provides qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry. To learn more about or apply for the program, visit

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