Edwins (Education Wins) takes at risk youth and those recently released from prison and offers them a second chance. They are taught business and culinary skills while working in the not-yet-open Edwins restaurant. They are also provided counseling and medical care while in the 6 month program. The goal is to give the participants hope, skills and confidence that will ensure they succeed once they are on their own.
When I was approached about this organization, I jumped at the chance to help promote it. People released from prison are an extremely high risk group and normally end right back in prison if they don't have support once they reenter society. Finding a job is one of the hardest aspects of their return because a lot of people don't want to hire an ex-con. With the help of Edwins, the participants will have a distinct advantage that not only helps them, but helps society as well.
The launch party was held last Friday at the eclectic and opulent home of Christopher G. Axelrod in Bratenhal. He opened up literally every room of his beautiful condo to over 100 guests (brave man!)
As we entered the complex, we were greeted with this
I knew we were off to a great start!
Chris himself welcomed everyone into his home personally with his own special flair...
We were able to explore the many rooms, each one decorated in a different style from Baroque to French Provincial. Food was set up throughout the condo so everyone kept moving and mingling.
In my opinion, Karen Small of the Flying Fig stole the show. Her trio was cohesive and absolutely delicious - a mini meal that I've been thinking of ever since.
|Karen serving her amazing white mushroom and fennel salad with lemon, arugula and parmesan - amazing!|
|crunchy little bites of yum AKA Tallegio Toast with local honey, marcona almonds and fig|
|Veal and ricotta meatballs with marscapone polenta, parsley, pine nuts and golden raisins|
The other food was plentiful and delightful as well:
|prosciutto, fois gras and fig roulade - David Waltuck|
|duck pastry from Chef Said of Bodega - he also made lamb with prunes and couscous - yum!|
|Chris and Catie Hodgson dishing up wild mushroom gnocchi with grape musk and roasted grapes|
|sushi and noodle salads from Zack Bruell|
|assorted charcuterie and cheeses from Paul Minnello from Flour|
Thank you Brandon for bringing this idea to Cleveland and for including me in your Launch Party. I look forward to continuing my support and can't wait for the restaurant to open! If you would like to donate to this worthwhile organization before the restaurant is open, click here. Once it's up and running, the public will be able to help out by dining and enjoying Brandon's dream in action.
We even got a sweet for the road...
|you-know-who with the dashing and delightful Brandon|
|a pumpkin cupcake from Main Street Cupcakes in Hudson|