Brandon Edwin Chrostowski was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, brought up by a single mother who worked as a civil servant and instilled in him the values of hard work, perseverance and equality for all.
After a brush with the law at age 18, Brandon seized a second chance — an opportunity to turn his life around — and committed himself to the mentorship of world-renowned chef Charlie Trotter. He would eventually graduate from the famed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, which fed a hunger for excellence. Brandon traveled extensively throughout his culinary career, working and training in some of the world’s most highly acclaimed restaurants, from Paris to New York.
Brandon found his way to Cleveland in 2008 where he would meet his future wife, Catana, a woman he describes as his unwavering confidant through times good and bad. After establishing roots in Cleveland, Brandon continued his work in the culinary arts as the General Manger, fromager and sommelier of L’Albatros Brasserie in University Circle for nearly five years, helping to build it into one of Cleveland’s most celebrated restaurants. Yet success was not enough to satisfy Brandon that he had truly turned his life around.
Brandon had a burning desire to serve a constituency that society had deemed unredeemable — those returning home from prison — and felt that providing mentorship and meaningful job training to presently and formerly incarcerated men and women could begin to change Cleveland for the better. With this goal in mind, he founded EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute.
In 2013, despite attempts to convince Brandon that his dream was impossible, EDWINS opened its doors to the first class of students. EDWINS graduates nearly 100 students a year between its in-prison program and restaurant institute. In addition to workforce and leadership training, issues ranging from housing, health care and substance abuse treatment are all addressed in the six-month program. Over 90% of graduates have found employment throughout the city and are now contributing to positive change in their communities.
Brandon Chrostowski is expanding his efforts to help the city he has grown to love by running for Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio. The idea to run for mayor was spawned from seeing how the neighborhood around his restaurant had been neglected by the city in favor of allocating resources to Downtown. He spoke to residents who said they had grown tired of career politicians’ promises to revitalize neighborhoods, only to forget those promises once they took office. Brandon heard complaints about slow or nonexistent city services, vacant homes and increasing gang violence and decided that change could no longer be put off until a later date.
It has to happen now. This is Cleveland’s chance for change, and this is the person to deliver that change. Brandon Chrostowski humbly asks for your vote in this September’s primary and this November’s general election.