You can overcome the obstacles through hard work
Walk in from the back door that leads to the kitchen and feel the heat feel the rush and most important feel the pressure. Pots are flying chefs are yelling there is complete chaos. It has mixed aromas and the extractor making loud noises. In the mist of all this chaos you take a glance at the chefs and notice one with patience and passion.
When the busgirl walks into the kitchen,
He says “are you ok, you need some help?” with a smile.
The busgirl, “I need help carrying this heavy tray”
“Of course I’d love to help.” He says. He is the type of person you that you ask for a favor and even if he is busy he will take a moment to help.
The man I am talking about is Luis Feliciano, kitchen manager at Ocean Front restaurant. He is skinny, 5feet 6inches tall, has an athletic type body and looks about 32 instead of his real age 42and his short hair somewhat grey and most important, kind of yellow from smoking but nevertheless touching smile.
Feliciano started off as a janitor with no high school diploma or cooking experience. As the time passed by he became the handyman of the restaurant. He gained the experience necessary to cook fulltime by observing and asking other chefs that have been through the kitchen. After years of practice and gained experience he now cooks with great passion and dedication. The transition from handyman to chef was, “I remember the day like it was yesterday”, one day the head chef quit and since then he had been helping out in the kitchen for a while he was given the opportunity to be the sous chef. Now he enjoys his job very much and is always dedicated to accomplish what he wants.
Even though he looks happy all the time he has had a bad experience growing up, “I grew up in a broken home where I saw my father beat my mother very often”, Feliciano said. The obstacles that he faced while he was growing up were difficult yet he still greets and smiles at everyone with kindness. When kicked out of his home he applied and got a job in Ocean Front.
He has three kids, two girls and a boy with three different women. “I wanted to be an example for my kids… anything is possible “he said. He regrets not having the family with at least one of the mothers of his children. The woman that he loved abused him; he once locked himself in the bathroom because my wife wanted to stab him, when “I called the cops they laughed.” Even though all this happened he still keeps in touch and helps her around the house.
His coworker, sous chef Bracero who has worked with him for over two years, stated “Anyone else put in his exact situation would give up but he persevered and did it with a smile”
Feliciano is always helping others inside and outside of work. Cristina Salas, busgirl said “I have seen him mentor the student-chefs who come here and he has had a big impact on their lives”.
He treats people so good that often young adults who have no one refer to him as their father. Luis Morreno, waiter said, “He is the father figure I never had” they spend a lot of their days off fixing cars and selling them. Moreno was making bad decisions and had no direction in his life, “I thank him for fixing my future’, but Feliciano like always is dedicated to help others.
Feliciano genuinely cares for helping others, “I would have loved for someone to help me… that’s why I enjoy helping” he emphasizes that helping with a smile does a lot more than just helping. You can tell the difference that his smile makes in the restaurant.