Chef Training Success Story: Adrian Aguilar

Before Sprouts: Adrian had been involved in gangs, drugs, organized crime, and armed robbery. Risk and violence were part of his everyday life. But, in June of 2013, Adrian reached a breaking point. He was chased down and hit by a car, driven by two opposing gang members. That evening in the hospital, he promised to get out and start a new life for himself.

Adrian found a fresh start at Sprouts Chef Training. He came to Sprouts with little restaurant experience but, after four short weeks training at The Boot and Shoe restaurant in Oakland, he started turning heads. Impressed by his desire to learn, Sprouts took to the community to fund a two-week dream trip for Adrian to Girona, Spain with a Sprouts partner chef.

The day of his flight, Adrian had a panic attack and called in to cancel the trip. Already at the airport, Sprouts director pleaded with the airline manager to keep the gate open 15 more minutes. Adrian arrived at check-in at minute 14.

After Sprouts: Adrian says his trip to Spain is one of the most influential experiences of his life. He couldn’t be more grateful for the community’s donations that make his trip possible. He lives in the Bay Area, working as a chef at a local catering company, happily married with two children.

Sprouts Chef Training Program trains young adults who’ve experienced hardship to become chefs. Working alongside a local chef mentor, trainees learn everything they need to know to land their very first jobs in the restaurant industry.

Since 2012, we’ve been working hard to give job opportunity to young adults that have faced significant setbacks, but are hungry to make a new start for themselves. Learn more about the program on our Chef Training hub.