From jail to top chef

In early adulthood while attending Long Beach City College, Eugene dreamed of becoming a chef. He fell victim to substance use, which eventually led him to drop out of college, experience turmoil in his personal relationships, be in and out of jail, and eventually become homeless.

Eugene enrolled in Breaking Barriers, a rapid rehousing program serving adults on felony probation, and received housing and case management services from Brilliant Corners and employment services from Chrysalis. He maintained his sobriety at the time of his enrollment, but soon fell back into addiction. With the support of his care team, Eugene worked through a rehabilitation program and sobriety plan, and was then accepted into L.A. Kitchen, a Los Angeles-based culinary training program for formerly incarcerated individuals.

Eugene successfully completed his culinary training while maintaining his sobriety, and shortly thereafter found employment with restaurant CAVA, where he quickly worked his way up to Head Chef and trainer of new chefs. Breaking Barriers provided him with access to stable housing and a strong network of service providers to support him on his journey to self-sufficiency. Eugene is no longer on probation and celebrated two years of sobriety this past October.

“If I didn’t have a stable living situation, I probably would have ended back up on drugs and in jail again.”