The Student Becomes The Teacher
You don’t have to be a trained chef to see that Brandi Addison knows her way around a kitchen. She arrives at Reconcile early in the morning and works quietly and quickly, head down over the onions and peppers she’s prepping to make some of Reconcile’s most beloved staples like jambalaya and gumbo. Her hands move quickly and the precision is mesmerizing, but she works relatively unnoticed in the chaos of new students trying to make breakfast and maneuver their way around the kitchen.
Three years ago, Brandi was one of those slightly confused students. After graduating from McMain High School, Brandi gave birth to her first child, Khya, and enrolled in Delgado community college. But a second pregnancy put her education on hold and it wasn’t until her brother, Travis, convinced her to look into the Reconcile program that Brandi made a plan for herself. Eight months pregnant with twins, Brandi recalls being “huge” on the day she graduated from Reconcile in July 2009.
After giving birth to Khea and Kaleah (now two years old), she applied to work at Catch, a brand new restaurant on Magazine Street. One of the first cooks in the kitchen, Brandi stayed with the restaurant as it underwent major changes and was renamed Salu. There for a year and a half, Brandi decided that she wanted to return to the place where she had started and help others achieve the success that she now enjoyed. In May, she was named Reconcile’s new Lead Line Cook.
Today, Brandi gets to teach those whose shoes she once filled. A hard worker and and an impressive success story, Brandi has more to share than just her culinary talents (which are extensive). She urges current students to “stick with it” and not to “let anything stop [them]” because the program is tough, but “it’s worth it.”
Brandi now spends her weekends with her three daughters, taking them to parks and pools. She encourages them to read because she knows the importance of a strong education and she loves books herself. The girl who once had a child and no plan for the future now makes payments on her own home, owns two cars, and plans to return to Delgado Community College in August. When asked what the program gave her, Brandi grinned: “just look at me,” she said, “I started as a student. Now I’m somebody.”