Frank has good memories from his childhood, growing up in Oxnard with his parents and two siblings, spending time in the kitchen. “I remember watching my mom cook and helping out when the family got together.” This is when his love for cooking was born.
In his 30s, Frank started drinking, and it became so excessive that he lost his job. “I was in construction and since I was pretty good they looked the other way until they were finally done with me not showing up.” With no money and no place to stay, Frank entered the Life Recovery Program at the Ventura County Rescue Mission.
Over the next several years Frank would find himself going in and out of the program. “When I was there, I kept thinking about going back to drinking,” Frank said. “I was only there for housing and for my family.”
In 2020, COVID led to Frank being laid off. A car accident, a DUI, and finally an eviction left Frank homeless yet again. He returned to the Mission, and this time his heart was ready for true restoration. “There was just something different this time,” Frank said. “Each time I was at the Mission before, God was working on me. This time I let Him take over.”
Frank’s love for food was reignited while learning from Chef Richard, the head chef at the Mission. Frank grew not only in his new vocation as a chef, but in his relationship with God. “I was lacking in my knowledge about God and how to turn to Him when things got hard,” he said.
Frank graduated from the program in March. His commitment to food service was noticed and he was offered a full-time job. In April, Frank moved to Northridge, where he is currently the head chef at the Rescue Mission Alliance San Fernando Valley. “I know this is where God has led me and wants me to be. I have really surrendered to God and I see this (cooking) as my ministry.”
Being able to serve other men who are in the same place he was, addicted to alcohol and homeless, has humbled Frank and changed his heart. “I have compassion in my heart for others that I have never had before.”
Just as Chef Richard encouraged Frank and sparked a love of food in him, Frank now gets to be that person to the men in the program in the San Fernando Valley. “I get to teach others about cooking,” Frank said. “They work alongside me and get hands-on experience in a commercial kitchen.
“This is a good place for me. It’s a solid foundation to stay on the right path, and I get to do what I love. I am honored I was asked to come here to the Rescue Mission Alliance San Fernando Valley and it is for God! … I want to help others and let them know there is hope and there is a future. I learned to hold onto God’s Word and there is grace and mercy.”