Local Chef Cooks Up Detainee Re-Entry Program

Local Chef Cooks Up Detainee Re-Entry Program

Recently, along with friends from the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section, I had the pleasure of dining at Tocco, 1266 N. Milwaukee, Chicago and meeting with its owner Bruno Abate.

Chef Abate, not only runs a wonderful restaurant but also is the creator of a successful prisoner reentry program at the Cook County Department of Corrections. Recipe for Change is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides “opportunities for sustainable change to detainees of the Cook County Jail, through culinary, fine arts and life skills training,” according to its website https://www.recipeforchangeproject.com. Chef Abate provides a rigorous culinary arts school within the confines of the jail and provides discipline and direction to assist inmates to become productive members of society.

The program is gaining accolades for its results. Chef Abate and the program were featured in an article in Vice, https://munchies.vice.com/en/articles/a-chicago-chef-is-rehabilitating-inmates-one-pizza-at-a-time and will be featured in a future episode of 60 Minutes.

It is refreshing to have a successful businessman give back to the community and seek to instill life skills to try to help inmates secure a positive  and productive future.

Lori G. Levin

Attorney at Law

180 N. LaSalle, Suite 3700

Chicago, IL 60601


[email protected]



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