For Leroy Green, cooking wasn’t just a way to earn a paycheck; it was a ladder to hope and opportunity. In short, Leroy says, “Cooking saved my life.”
Leroy was incarcerated for 20 years, and when he was released, he found himself gravitating towards old habits. But that wasn’t working for him anymore; this time, he wanted things to turn out differently. So he came to The Doe Fund, hoping that it would keep him from heading straight back to prison.
Ready, Willing & Able did that for him—and so much more.
On his first day, he was placed in the kitchens because he had been a cook in prison. He didn’t mind; in fact, he was glad to be in the kitchens again, back in his element. “At first, I was doing it to stay out of trouble. Then I took the Chef-in-Training class, and that changed everything.”
In the class, Leroy learned to use the freshest herbs and ingredients. “Everything came out beautifully,” he said. “You can’t go wrong.” As he became more advanced, he started experimenting with mixing different cuisines; one crossover he likes to explore is Asian and Caribbean.
Today, Leroy works as a Chef Manager at Fresh Direct, where he supervises workers and oversees the preparation of roughly 3,000 meals per day. He’s proud of his important role within the company and that he is able to run a smooth operation.
But mostly, it’s about the rewards of making food that others will enjoy. “I love seeing people satisfied,” says Leroy. “I’ve got two daughters and grandkids who I love. This year, I got to cook a Mother’s Day meal for both my daughters, which was really great.”