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About Us



EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute is a 501(c)(3) organization that offers formerly incarcerated adults a foundation in the culinary and hospitality industries and a support network necessary for long-term success.

Located in Cleveland, Ohio and founded by Brandon Chrostowski in 2007, the driving principle behind the organization is that every human being, regardless of their past, has a right to a fair and equal future. In 2011, Culinary Club classes began at Grafton Correctional Institution, and shortly after, EDWINS Restaurant opened in Shaker Square on Nov. 1, 2013.

While enrolled in the program, EDWINS students are equipped with intensive training and hands-on work experience. They are also provided with free housing, legal services, basic medical care, clothing, job coaching, literacy programs, and more at the Second Chance Life Skills Center (est. 2016), a 30,000-square-foot campus.

Today, EDWINS has grown to include an award-winning fine French restaurant, Butcher Shop, Bakery, and edwins too; a culinary incubator, community kitchen, event, and makers’ space. The Institute graduates 75 students a year many of whom gain employment in dining establishments across the country.




Our Mission

EDWINS’ mission is three-fold: to teach a skilled and in-demand trade in the culinary arts, empower willing minds through a passion for hospitality management, and prepare students for a successful transition home.

 *According to a survey of graduates conducted by EDWINS Case Management Team

High-Stakes Haute Cuisine

EDWINS was the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary Knife Skills by Academy Award Winning director, Thomas Lennon.


Knife Skills may be viewed here.

Our Team

Brandon Edwin Chrostowski

Brandon Edwin Chrostowski


Founder, CEO, and president of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute Brandon Edwin Chrostowski is renowned for changing culinary and hospitality training—in and out of the nation’s prisons—while preserving French cooking traditions. His mission-driven effort to train and staff former prison inmates at his flagship French restaurant and nonprofit has created a national model for re-entry and an educational pipeline for formerly incarcerated to learn the discipline and skill of fine dining.

Under Chrostowski’s leadership, the EDWINS program boasts an extraordinary one percent recidivism rate, a testament to the efficacy of its approach. More than a CEO, Chrostowski is a catalyst for change, providing over one hundred formerly incarcerated adults with free culinary and hospitality arts training each year. Since its inception in 2007, the program has evolved into a multifaceted initiative, including Edwins Too—a culinary incubator and community kitchen; EDWINS Butcher Shop and Bakery and Diner; a Second Chance Life Skills Center with housing and wraparound services; EDWINS Family Center, a nonprofit offering free daycare to Institute students during class hours; on-site programs at Grafton Correctional Institute and Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center; and a groundbreaking virtual curriculum reaching over 400,000 inmates in prisons across the country.

A culinary virtuoso, Chrostowski’s journey began with classical training as a chef and sommelier. He honed his skills at distinguished fine dining establishments in Paris, New York, and Chicago, including Lucas Carton, Chanterelle, Picholine, Le Cirque, and Charlie Trotter’s. His culinary prowess has been celebrated with numerous accolades, including being a 2022 James Beard Award Semifinalist and a 2023 James Beard Finalist. Recognition also extends to the 2023 Jim Brown Changemaker Award, IFMA’s 2020 Silver Plate, CNN’s 2016 Heroes, and the prestigious Crain’s “40 under 40” Awards.

Chrostowski’s commitment to social entrepreneurship has been further acknowledged with The Richard C. Cornuelle Award from the Manhattan Institute for Social Entrepreneurship. His extraordinary journey has been captured in the Academy Award-nominated documentary “Knife Skills,” providing a compelling narrative of his mission and impact. National media outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, and TODAY, have featured Chrostowski, bringing attention to his innovative approach to culinary education and social reform.

A proud alum of The Culinary Institute of America, Chrostowski holds an associate degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in business and Restaurant Management. His combined expertise and dedication continue to redefine the possibilities of the culinary and hospitality industry, making Brandon Chrostowski a visionary leader and catalyst for positive change. He resides in Cleveland with his wife Catana and their children, Leo, Lilly, Lynx, and Lander.

Gerry Grim

Gerry Grim


Gerry discovered his love of the kitchen learning under one of the best cooks he knows – his mom. Many years later, after diverging from a successful career as a golf professional and teacher, Gerry graduated from Le Cordon Bleu. He shares nearly two decades of practical knowledge with EDWINS’ students.

With diverse culinary experiences along the way, the highlights for Gerry include cooking under the direction of Chef Keith Coughenour at the esteemed Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the Duquesne Club, he learned the dedication required to work in a professional kitchen and developed his passion for classical French cuisine.

From there, Gerry was able to expand on his classical roots when he moved back to his hometown of Cleveland and worked under Chef Doug Katz at fire food and drink. Chef Katz instilled the belief in him to use local and sustainable products and to run a fully-from-scratch kitchen.

Gerry originally joined EDWINS as a volunteer to help Brandon Chrostowski teach culinary skills at the Grafton Correctional Institution, and was so moved by EDWINS’ mission that he decided to join the staff full time with the hope that he can help people who were formerly-incarcerated have a better life. Today, he is proud to serve as EDWINS’ Director of Culinary Education.

Jordan Levine

Jordan Levine


Jordan Levine has been working in restaurants for 18 years, first washing dishes at his cousin’s pizza parlor before moving up to cooking and serving positions there.

Jordan attended the University of Toledo where he earned his bachelors degree in communication. During that time, he continued to expand his culinary techniques working as a baker and cook in a local middle eastern eatery, while also writing for the school newspaper.

Moving back home to Cleveland, Jordan worked for five years as a server for the Moxie and Red restaurant group in Beachwood where he learned the fundamentals of formal dining and gained a knack for creating memorable guest experiences.

Jordan continued to hone his skills as a server at L’Albatross Brasserie where he discovered his love for French food and wine. During his time there, the restaurant was consistently praised for having the best service in Cleveland.

Jon Khanna

Jon Khanna


After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from Ohio State University, Jon began his pursuit of a career in the restaurant business. His love of fine dining and food started as a young boy while traveling through the States and Europe with his family. He had a particular liking for French food and the open air markets of Paris and Provence.

Jon has been working in the restaurant industry for over 20 years. He started young working with his mom in her gourmet food store where he leaned classic French techniques. From that point forward he continued to delve deeper into French cuisine traveling to France a number of times. After school he continued to grow his talents working for the Hyatt as well as Mayfield Sandridge Country Club where he was a sous chef. Deciding he wanted to make the move to the front of the house he joined the team at Sergio’s Sarava where he worked his way up from expediter to general manager within a year.

He continued his education along the way in food and he started to delve deeper into wine eventually earning his Certified Sommelier Certificate. He also became a ServSafe Proctor and a Ohio Level 2 Food Safety Proctor and Instructor 

In his free time Jon enjoys golfing, traveling and entertaining family and friends.

Jon Khanna

Ashley Miller


Ashley’s passion for cooking came from his father. As a single parent he had to learn how to cook to provide healthy meals for the two of them. Ashley watched and learned over the years from his father’s failures and triumphs in the kitchen.

Originally from Texas, Ashley graduated from culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, Texas. He did his internship at the famous Ahwahnee Hotel in the beautiful Yosemite National Park and continued to work in Yosemite off and on for seven years as line cook and Sous Chef at three of the major hotels in the park. It was there that he met his wife.

After a two-year stint in Portland, Oregon working as a Chef at a family-owned Moroccan restaurant, he spent five years as an Executive Chef in Olympic National Park, in Washinton State, at a resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean, situated between two rain forests. From there he moved to Ohio with his wife and their one-year-old boy, as the Executive Chef at the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, to be closer to his wife’s family.

He spent the next five years at the Lodge and added twin boys to the family. He likes hiking and spending time with his family, taking his kids to hockey, soccer and baseball practice.  Back in 2008 he hiked 216 miles from Yosemite to Kings Canyon, completing the John Muir Trail in three weeks.

He is a Certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation as well as a Certified Culinary Administrator. He joins the EDWINS family teaching culinary arts to the students.


Jon Bosworth

Jon Bosworth


As Jon Bosworth planned his future, he was divided between becoming a teacher or going to culinary school. Jon chose teaching, completing two years at Ashland University. 

Later, after fulfilling an externship at the quintessentially innovative cocktail bar, The Spotted Owl, and graduating from the EDWINS program, Jon felt like he was getting a second chance to do what he wanted to do: combining teaching and the culinary arts. He earned a position as EDWINS’ Bar Manager in 2015, where he enjoyed the opportunity to teach our students how to bartend. 

In 2020 Jon took on the role of general manager of EDWINS taking the skills he learned behind the bar to another level. He now spends his time conducting the “show” ensuring that the guest has a great experience while making sure the front and back of house are moving together in perfect harmony.

In addition to running the dining room Jon curates that award winning wine list. So whatever bottle of wine you may be looking for from German Riesling to South African Pinotage he’ll have it for you!

In his free time Jon enjoys working on projects around his house, riding his motorcycle and trying out new wines and spirits from around the world.

Jon Bosworth

Jackson Studzinski


Upon graduating from Oberlin Conservatory, Jackson quickly realized the music business was not for him. Growing up in Seattle with a family who instilled in him a love of food and dining out, the natural next step was beginning a career in restaurants. 

Jackson’s first job was as a line cook working under John Updyke at 1815 Tavern and Mad Jack’s Grill. Wanting to further his culinary education, he completed the Edwins program and after graduating, was chosen to go to Paris with two other graduates to represent Edwins in France. Upon returning to Cleveland, Jackson started working for Zack Bruell, serving both at Parallax, learning the subtleties of Japanese and fusion cuisine, and at L’Albatros, learning classical French service. At L’Albatros, Jackson quickly became interested in wine, and after working closely with the wine director, he was promoted to the wine team, a position he enjoyed there for a few years. 

 In 2022, Jackson joined the Edwins team as assistant general manager. He feels it’s a privilege to be able to help people in one of the most difficult and uncertain times in their lives, and to be a part of such an amazing organization.

 In his free time, Jackson enjoys going to new restaurants, traveling, bingeing TV shows, and exploring the nooks and crannies of Northeast Ohio.


Jon Bosworth

Jamal Williams


Jamal joined EDWINS first as a student in 2018 where he excelled in both the front of house and back of house operations. Upon completing the program he was one of the first students accepted into the management training program. Throughout his time in the program he managed the bakery, edwins too, and the butcher shop, finally settling down at EDWINS where he took quickly to the role of bartender.

Upon completion of the management training program Jamal was hired on to become the bar manager and has made the bar his own. He loves creating new cocktails and educating the guests on different or new spirits.

In his free time Jamal is an avid Cleveland Browns fan, and enjoys spending time with his family, where he’s always quick to whip up a cocktail….or mocktail for the kids.

Kelly McKinney

Juwati Jackson


Juwati fell in love with cooking while working with his mother and grandmother in the kitchen as a child. Born and raised in Cleveland and surrounding neighborhoods the youngest of 12, he realized at an early age that he wanted to do something that would make his parents proud. While in high school Juwati knew he wanted to go to college and was accepted to Bethune-Cookman University and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Before Juwati could make the decision of where to go his mom fell ill and he decided to stay home and help take care of her. In 2014 he graduated from High School and his mom passed away in 2015. Dealing with the untimely death of his mother Juwati dealt with grief and finding his way without his biggest cheerleader by his side.


In May 2022 Juwati joined the EDWINS family as a student, graduated and has now a fellow in our manager in training program. He is currently embracing the opportunity that was given to him and sharing his knowledge with the current students at EDWINS. Eventually his goal is to open a burlesque style cabaret offering cuisine that pays homage to the mother who helped him fall in love with food as a small child.


Kelly McKinney

Alexis Champion


Alexis Champion’s passion stems from baking in the kitchen with her mother at a young age. In high school, she decided to attend Polaris Career Center for a certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts. While in vocational school she learned the basic skills of being in a kitchen. Out of high school, she continued to learn and grow within the industry around the Cleveland area.

After years of being in the industry, she decided to seek out the next opportunity by attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. At the CIA she was able to hone her skills by taking advantage of every opportunity that the school had to offer. While in school she attended an externship for three months at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. After she graduated from the CIA the same company hired her back on to help open a country club in North Carolina. 

Moving back home to Cleveland, Alexis saw potential in the city’s food scene. She heard about edwins and was moved by Chrostowski’s mission and wanted to be apart of it. One of her goals is to motivate students to work hard and continue to grow within the hospitality industry. “We can make a difference on a daily basis, as long as we just use our voice.” – Brandon Chrostowski. Here at Edwins hospitality is our voice. We use it to make a positive change in one another.  For inquiries contact her at


Christopher Keeney

Chris Keeney


Chris returned to EDWINS as the Vice President of Development in October 2023. He previously was the Major Gifts Officer at Holden Forests & Gardens after previously serving as the Director of Development at EDWINS. Prior to first stint at EDWINS, Chris also worked at the United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Outside of work, Chris enjoys reading, Cleveland sports, and trying to stay current with Cleveland’s dining scene. He lives in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood with his wife Raisa and son Nicholas.

To learn more about supporting EDWINS, please contact Chris at

Heather Pederson

Heather Pederson


Currently residing in Cleveland Heights, Heather has over 10 years of case management experience specializing in working with men and women who are formerly incarcerated and dealing with the barriers of re-entry. It is her passion.

Heather works to spread the mission of EDWINS and the idea of fair second chances through community engagements, speeches, and a continual presence of understanding, empathy, and accountability with her students. She has currently worked in Case Management at EDWINS for 10 years starting as a part-time helper and growing her position to the Dean of Students. She has an associate degree in science from Cuyahoga Community College and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cleveland State University. She has her Chemical Dependency Counseling Certification from NORA and is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Cleveland chapter and a member of the Ohio Counseling Association (OCA) of Greater Cleveland. She is currently attending Cleveland State University for her master’s degree in clinical Mental Health Counseling with her anticipated graduation in Spring 2026.

Heather has a passion for helping and for mental health and utilizes her education, sense of humor, and job skills to bring a better quality of life to her students through independent counseling, goal setting, personal growth and development, and the healing of family trauma and personal traumas. Through her own personal experiences with incarceration and re-entry Heather is dedicated to her community and returning citizens and strives to give them unparallel service and all the tools that they need to stay home for good! Her future goal is to open a private practice where she specializes in counseling for individuals and families of men and women who are incarcerated and would like to or are state mandated to receive mental health counseling to heal themselves and their family units and community.

In her free time, Heather enjoys cooking ethnic fusion dishes, exploring new restaurants, traveling, and spending time watching cartoons and murder shows, especially the Simpsons and Forensic Files. She has a love for rescues animals and currently has two rescue cats, five guinea pigs, a turtle, and a bearded dragon. Her best memory to date was walking the stage at her graduation that she dedicated to her mom and dad (deceased). It was a culmination of many promises made during her incarceration that she was finally able to fulfill and a very proud moment for her. Heather is also an avid reader, swimmer, and lover of True Crime Murder Mysteries and podcasts.

Heather Pederson

Anna Mancini

Case Manager

Previously based in Sedona, AZ, Anna Mancini has over 6 years of working in rehabilitation facilities as well as a lifetime of experience in helping those with past addiction, trauma, or just in need of coaching in order to reach their goals. 

Anna previously founded a sober companionship business and has worked as a coach to over 100 clients. She is professionally certified in Trauma Resolution techniques, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and Life Coaching, and has coupled these skills with her own passions for health, fitness, spirituality, and nature in order to produce a holistic approach to mental health and life challenges. She is currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. 

While finding her way to Cleveland to be with her partner, Anna arrived at Edwin’s where her passion for helping others could come to life. Anna has worked in many roles—as a sober companion, as a business coach, and even a clinical hypnotherapist—and has navigated issues of recovery, incarceration, and disabilities within her own family. She is excited and grateful to be able to bring her skillset to the EDWINS’ community. 

Some of Anna’s favorite experiences include backpacking throughout Europe when she was 20 and working at a permaculture farm for 3 months. She also enjoys reading, powerlifting, hiking, and cooking organic food.

Griffin Johnson

Griffin Johnson


Griffin Johnson brings more than two decades of hospitality experience to EDWINS.

Griffin began her culinary education at the Shoreby Club and then later Sergio’s. She completed culinary coursework at the Art Institute of Dallas before joining L’Albatros near its inception, gaining extensive knowledge of fine dining practices and French cuisine during her five years there. Griffin helped open Chinato, and then enjoyed a position at Cowell & Hubbard for several years.

Always eager for new challenges, Griffin was excited to join EDWINS to learn more and grow within an organization. The EDWINS’ mission and Brandon’s philosophy of promotion and providing new challenges appealed to her. Griffin also grew up in the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood on 116th and Griffing, and she has seen the power of community involvement here. EDWINS provided Griffin with the perfect opportunity to give back.

Griffin Johnson

Derrick Speights


Derrick’s early career was as a nursing assistant, and he later switched to the hospitality industry, earning credits in a culinary arts program.

He first met EDWINS founder Brandon Chrostowski while working at L’Albatross and, after learning his away around some of Cleveland’s best restaurants, he brings more than a decade of guest relations and management experience to EDWINS. He’s naturally engaging and is a skilled relationship builder.

Derrick’s decision to join the EDWINS’ family was based on one thing: “I want to help people. Before, I got to help people with their dining experience; now I get to help people with their lives.”

Derrick assists with programming at our student campus, the EDWINS Second Chance Life Skills Center, working with both students and volunteers. He also oversees EDWINS’ efforts to establish Culinary Clubs in Ohio’s prisons and leads our Town Hall series.

To reach Derrick for questions about any of these initiatives, email him at or call him at 216-295-5660.