Chicago chef’s pizza-making program for inmates might reduce recidivism

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We found a feel-good food news story for you guys today! I freaking love it when this happens. And I love good people like Bruno Abate, the Italian-born master chef who spends his free time running a culinary program at Chicago’s Cook County Jail. CBS News aired a segment on this chef last night, and my heart melted into a sweet little puddle. Watch this and tell me that you don’t want to fly straight to O’Hare so you can hug this guy:

I’ve got a number of friends who have had their lives utterly destroyed by stupid mistakes they made before they were old enough to legally buy alcohol. Even if you spend 20 years on the straight and narrow, a gun or drug charge will follow you forever, destroying your chances of finding meaningful employment. Quite often this catch-22 leads the formerly incarcerated right back to prison, but of the graduates of Chef Bruno’s Recipe for Change program, zero have returned to the Cook County Jail. Abate has even hired several graduates to work in his restaurants. He’s also supplemented the existing cooking classes with art and music education, and is currently working on expanding the program to a women’s prison.

If this story has given you the warm and fuzzies, perhaps consider throwing a few bucks towards Abate’s efforts to establish a Recipe For Change food truck, which will pair currently incarcerated interns with program alumni who have completed their sentences. Bruno Abate: We here at The Takeout salute you.