What drives the nation’s top foodservice operators? To celebrate IFMA's 66th annual Gold & Silver Plate Awards, we asked the 2020 Silver Plate Class to share some perspectives and words of wisdom with the industry. Find out what they have to say about their passion for foodservice, career accomplishments and what it means to be part of a legendary group of operators.
Meet Brandon Chrostowski, Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute. Brandon received the 2020 Silver Plate Award in the Retail & Specialty category, and was nominated by Nestlé Professional.
How did you get your start in the foodservice industry?
I ran afoul of the law and was facing a 10-year prison sentence. My judge in the case saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself—potential. I was then introduced to a chef who became an incredible mentor to me at a time when my life was a bit unstable. We had great conversations that unlocked my passion for the culinary arts. From there, I decided to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America. I’ve been married to food ever since.
What do you enjoy most about your career in foodservice?
I love changing the world our guests live in for just a moment as they dine in our restaurant. I also enjoy being an advocate for our students and watching them grow, graduate, and succeed in life.
Tell us about your biggest career accomplishment.
My biggest career accomplishment thus far has been to provide meaningful opportunities to men and women returning home from prison.
Taking EDWINS, a free culinary arts institute that most thought to be futile, from a dream to reality has been amazing! Also, to watch a restaurant that bears my name become a vehicle for human transformation is immensely gratifying
What advice do you have for someone new to the foodservice industry?
No matter where you are on the planet, hard work has no language. The most important characteristic a foodservice worker can possess is their commitment to hard work. A positive attitude will also undoubtedly elevate morale amongst colleagues and never fails to enhance the guest experience. Innovation is incredibly more difficult to achieve but also proportionally more rewarding.
What does being an IFMA Silver Plate recipient mean to you?
It’s an honor to be recognized alongside the many great individuals who have won this award before me. This is big! There are other awards that to me, represent vanity or surface-level popularity. I associate this award with men and women who’ve been in the trenches creating transformative movements. This award also means that the efforts I’ve invested into my quest—to give every human being a fair an equal chance at success—have been recognized, and for that I am grateful.
What is your favorite meal?
Celebrate Brandon and the rest of the Silver Plate Class on Monday, Nov 2 in Scottsdale at the 66th Annual Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration. This year’s program has been added to IFMA’s Presidents Conference and tickets are now available.