Sprouts Chef Trainee Guillermo and Mentor Chef Seth Stowaway Inspire on KPIX CBS San Francisco
Our latest inspiring story comes from Sprouts Chef Trainee Guillermo and his Chef Mentor Seth Stowaway. In this segment from KPIX CBS San Francisco, G and Chef Seth share their journeys through hardship on the streets of San Francisco to the same Michelin-Star restaurant kitchen as mentee and mentor. It’s a real-life story of triumph, made possible by local San Francisco nonprofit organization Sprouts Chef Training.
Guillermo’s Difficult Start
Guillermo (“G”) faced his share of obstacles growing up in San Francisco’s Mission district. His parents battled substance abuse, which made home life challenging for him and his two siblings. G dropped out of school early on, and it wasn’t until his grandmother encouraged him to get his GED (the equivalent of a high school diploma) that he realized he could forge his own path.
Through the GED program, Guillermo heard about Sprouts Chef Training, a job prep program that pairs at-risk youth with professional chefs for culinary internships. At the time, G was living just a few blocks from Osito restaurant, where he would soon intern with Chef Seth Stowaway.
Chef Seth’s Inspiring Journey
Chef Seth’s story is equally inspiring, having overcome addiction, incarceration, and homelessness in his own youth to found one of the only live fire restaurants in San Francisco. You won’t find a single microwave or stove in the restaurant, which has earned a Michelin Star for its innovativeness and soul.
The Impact of Mentorship
Guillermo says that, “If I didn’t have this job, I could be homeless, addicted to a very strong substance in the Tenderloin.” It’s a stark contrast from the warmth of Osito, where Chef Seth’s goal is to train G so that he can “work anywhere” after his Sprouts Chef Training internship. He hints at a grander idea, that by training youth to work at the highest level, they can work in any restaurant or apply the hard work, follow-through, and creativity they learn in other industries.
A Bright Future
G is not sure what he wants to do with his future, but his internship at Osito is undoubtedly a step forward. He encourages others in his shoes to “get to a Sprouts Chef Training program anywhere,” where there are, “good leaders, people who can tell you what to do, who know where you’ve been in your life.”
As a job training entity and youth service nonprofit, Sprouts Chef Training supports at-risk young adults all over the San Francisco Bay Area, including Oakland and the surrounding counties of San Mateo, Contra Costa, and Alameda. Guillermo is one of 100+ young people to go through Sprouts’ on-the-job culinary training program, which boasts an 88% graduation rate.
Supporting Future Chefs and Leaders
As Chef Seth will tell you, “People are supposed to take care of each other,” which he is certainly doing for Guillermo and other youth as a Sprouts Chef Training mentor. Of her own internship at Osito, Sprouts Chef Training Graduate Sandra says, “Thank you, for giving me an opportunity I wouldn’t have had without your help and support that will allow me to grow my knowledge and be closer to who I want to be.”
It’s an uplifting story from Guillermo, Chef Seth and the Osito kitchen family, proving the true power of mentorship to transform lives. Through the Sprouts Chef Training program, inspirational stories continue to unfold, proving that a helping hand can make all the difference in shaping a brighter future.
Published August 2023. Many thanks to KPIX and reporter Len Ramirez.
About Sprouts Chef Training
Sprouts is a 501(c)(3) San Francisco-based nonprofit organization helping youth land culinary jobs and launch careers in food. Learn More
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