Opening Plenary: A More Powerful Yes


Monday, January 23, 2023
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Session Type: General

Brandon Chrostowski
Founder and CEO of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute
This powerful and uplifting opening session will highlight the work of Brandon Chrostowski, Founder and CEO of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute. His restaurant is a place former inmates can learn skills and find support to increase their chances of success at reentry. In 2007, he founded EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute with the belief that “education wins” and that every human being - regardless of their past - has the right to a fair and equal future. Under Chrostowski’s stewardship, EDWINS has grown to include culinary education and life skills training at its flagship French eatery and haute dining concept, Edwins too, in Cleveland, Ohio. Come see how this Ohio institution has become a model for reentry nationwide.
Learning Objectives:
  • Highlighting the benefits of hiring within special populations
  • Reviewing recidivism statistics within special populations
  • Emphasizing on how offering training and education reduces the recidivism rates
  • Demonstrating how he created a national model for reentry


Brandon Chrostowski
Founder and CEO, EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute

Brandon Edwin Chrostowski is on a mission to change the face of re-entry in the United States. A classically trained chef and sommelier, Chrostowski honed his skills at fine dining establishments in Paris, New York, and Chicago, including Lucas Carton, Chanterelle, Picholine, Le Cirque and Charlie Trotter’s. Recognition of his culinary and mission-driven efforts include IFMA’s 2020 Silver Plate, CNN 2016 Heroes and Crain’s “40 under 40” awards; being featured as the subject of the Academy Award nominated documentary Knife Skills; and The Richard C. Cornuelle Award from the Manhattan Institute for Social Entrepreneurship. Chrostowski earned an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Restaurant Management from The Culinary Institute of America. He resides in Cleveland with his wife Catana and their children, Leo, Lilly, and Lynx.