Cafe Momentum: Serving Second Chances


At a Texas restaurant staffed by ex-offenders, young men ditch criminal backgrounds to roast, toast and saute high-end cuisine. That restaurant was created by Chef Chad Houser who realized that the inmates who he was teaching cooking were more than his pre-conceived stereotypes and deserved a second chance: “When he arrived in the kitchen, none of the eight boys were the tattooed toughs he’d expected. “I had stereotyped them before I even met them,” Houser recalls. “All eight looked at me when they spoke. They said, ‘Please,’ ‘Sir,’ and ‘Thank you.'” They all listened closely, he adds, eager for “a first-time feeling” of crafting something they could take pride in and savor.” Houser was inspired to use his skills to create an opportunity and second chance for these young men.