Stories from the Kitchen: Luis Fuentes

Recently our new Food Service Director, Nancy Brumbaugh had the pleasure of meeting one of our past students Luis Fuentes. After graduation Luis got a job at Siemen’s Corporate Dining. He told her that after his second week of employment there, he was selected into training for Executive Chef. We love hearing the success stories of our culinary training students.

The following week, Nancy received this note of thanks from Luis’s mom:

luisblog1Luis as a child was very humble and good son. He is my friend and has always been there for me. I see him as my humble giant. His struggle in life started when we realized he had a speech impediment. Kids were very cruel to Luis they would laugh at him and call him names. This made Luis very insecure and extremely quiet because of the nature of his impediment, which caused him to stutter.

When Luis was in 4th grade, his teacher forced him to go in front of the class and read, knowing he had speech problems. This was very embarrassing for Luis and scared him so deep that he never was the same. For years, I tried to make him smile and feel good yet it never worked. Years passed and we started going to a church, the Pastor and youth director lifted Luis up and tried to help him, but there was still something holding my son back.

One day Pastor Ephraim Padilla was talking with Luis and gave my son a word of encouragement. Pastor Ephraim Padilla said, “Luis, Moses was a stutterer however, he was one of the greatest leaders of Bible history, what is your excuse? You can be great in all that you do.” With this in mind, Luis decided he needed to make changes in his life. He quickly took advantage of the opportunity Second Harvest offered through the culinary program.

Luis graduated from the Second Harvest Culinary Training Program with a great job at Siemens Corporate Dining and overcame his fear of working with others openly. He met wonderful, empowering and inspiring people that not only change Luis’ life but also changed his way of thinking.

Chef Izzy and Idalia Nunez were key people that transformed my son from the inside out with their special touch. I believe that Second Harvest Food Bank should continue to teach, motivate and inspire humble giants like my Chef Luis. God bless you Idalia Nunez and Chef Izzy I will never have enough to repay all that you have done for my son.

Thank you,

Sonya Yvonne Rodriguez


Pictures of Luis Fuentes in the Darden Foundation Community Kitchen:




















Author: Maria Shanley

Senior Digital Marketing Manager Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

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