This Essay is VERY personal and ANDRE wanted to share it for the BENEFiT of OTHERS !
I am the oldest of 7 children and I remember how difficult it was while growing up for me and my family. It was so difficult that I started working at the age of 13 just so I could help my mother as well as provide for my own needs. I remember when I did not have sneakers for school and my mother bought two pairs of old sneakers from a neighbor for $25 dollars. It did not help that I was in the 6th grade and everybody in the neighborhood knew about it, and teased me relentlessly. Things did not get better as I got older. At the age of 22, I was homeless with a job, working at Engine 46 Steakhouse. There were times when I had to wash myself up in a Laundromat bathroom after washing my clothes so I could be clean for work. Other times, I resulted to using different playground bathrooms to wash up and change. I was paranoid that someone would come in and laugh at me, or a cop would come in and throw the book at me for washing up in a public establishment. I had some tough times while growing up, but these few things helped me to continue to press forward in life.
The first positive thing I did was to become a student at C.C.P. A few years ago, I unexpectedly lost my job due to my employer filing for Chapter 11. Following this loss, I decided to go to Philadelphia Careerlink. It was there that I saw a flyer discussing how a person could receive a grant for the first semester at C.C.P. The program was called “Opportunity Now” and Michael Harry was in charge of the program. I did not have a G.E.D, so I studied hard the next two weeks, took the G.E.D test and passed! I brought all the required paperwork to Mr. Harry, he shook my hand and said, “Welcome to C.C.P.” Words could not explain the joy I felt inside. On January 18, 2010, I started college at C.C.P. It was also the same week I began working at Le Bec Fin, which was the second thing that kept me pressing forward.
Working at Le Bec Fin has been an amazing experience. It is a beautiful thing working alongside Chef Perrier, his Chef De Cuisine and co-owner Nicolas Elmi, and the entire staff at Le Bec Fin. All the gifts God has bestowed upon me, I have used to better myself and everyone I come in contact with. I have a gift to serve others. Every time I walk into our kitchen, whenever I get the chance to go over our exceptional menu, every time our guests leave with a memorable fine dining experience, I get this amazing feeling inside of me. I have an insatiable hunger to learn all I can in the restaurant industry and working at Le Bec Fin is an excellent tool for sharpening my skills and knowledge.
Finally, it is not enough to learn all that I can professionally in the hospitality industry as well as academically in college, but to excel in these fields. To excel means to do or be better than. It also means to surpass others or to be superior in some respect or area. For me, this means I plan to surpass and be better than past generations of poverty and settling for less. Academically I am strong. I will proudly admit that I have made semester honors spring 2010, fall 2010, and I know I will make semester honors for spring 2011 because I am making A’s in all 4 of my classes. I currently maintain a G.P.A of 3.54. Professionally I am learning so much at Le Bec Fin. Each day I work is an exciting and privileged adventure. I am only going to become that much more passionate about honing my craft.
It is my pleasure to share with you a little bit of who I am, what I have been through, and most importantly who I am today as a result of all I have been through. I live my life beautifully and passionately. Each day is a gift from God. I will continue to take advantage of all that life has to offer. I invite you all to come join me on this wonderfully exciting journey called “Living Life Beautifully.”