Wednesday August 10, 2011
With JVS support, Chris Stoner Progresses Toward His Goals
At an age when many people are uncertain about their career paths, Chris Stoner knows exactly what he wants to do.
He wants to work in the world of culinary arts. And since April, that’s what he’s been doing.
With a passion for cooking, Stoner, 20, landed a job at Buffalo Joe’s Family Restaurant in Fairfield. And after only a few months, he had progressed from washing dishes and preparing raw ingredients to the added responsibility of cooking.
Stoner’s successful journey started when he was in high school. He realized cooking intrigued him, so he enrolled in the culinary arts program at Butler Tech High School.
Since his 2009 graduation, Stoner, who has a developmental disability, has been pursuing his goals with guidance from JVS programs funded by the United Way of Greater Cincinnati and the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission.
JVS arranged a temporary work opportunity in a country club kitchen. While there, he learned new skills and gained valuable experience.
With limited transportation options and limited work experience, he began a job search with help from JVS. Soon thereafter, Butler County started a new bus route, which expanded his transportation options. He landed the job at Buffalo Joe’s, working about 18 hours a week.
Stoner says he has become more focused because of the experience and guidance he’s getting at the restaurant. He realizes dirty dishes and food orders could quickly pile up if he allows himself to become distracted. “When we’re busy, there’s no time to mess around.”
Kenji Matsuda, Buffalo Joe’s co-owner, says Stoner has learned the importance of doing his job correctly and takes criticism well. With practice, he’s becoming a better cook. “I’m hoping he’ll cook more for us,” Matsuda says.
The job makes Stoner feel great. “I’m glad I have something to look forward to in the future.”
And years from now, he hopes to have achieved some other goals: going to college to study culinary arts and business, and opening a restaurant.