It is hard to catch up with 17-year old Luis Fabiani – this is a young man in motion!
You might catch sight of him on the bus, taking the hour-long trip from school, where he is working on graduating, as he heads to his internship at The Dorian, a bustling restaurant on Chestnut in the Marina District. Or he may be caring for his little girl, as his role of a single dad. Or he may be working his second job, as a bike mechanic. He is rarely sitting still, and his internship through the Sprouts Cooking Club, is now propelling him in a whole new direction.
For the past two months Luis has been working with Chef Lee Levig at The Dorian. Levig is a highly regarded and experienced chef, currently the executive chef at the Dorian. It has been a great match, and Levig is very excited about the change he has seen in Luis. “He took to the job like a fish to water!”
Luis is currently working at the ‘garde manager’ prep station, making salads and tacos. Levig describes that station as, “the most difficult of all of the stations at the restaurant. It isn’t hard to make a steak into something elegant. It takes work to make a piece of lettuce elegant.” And Luis has achieved that goal.
Eventually, Luis will move to the fryer station and then to the grill. He is excited to try it all. So far, no one dish has become his favorite to work on, but he is looking forward to cooking meat at the grill station, and he prepares a lot of meat when cooking at home.
Luis had worked in a Mexican restaurant before, assisting a chef, but had never been taught so many basic skills. “I have learned knife skills and how to remember recipes. I never made a Caesar salad before – now I make it all of the time!” And he admits that now that he knows about good knives, and what a difference they make, he is spoiled. “It makes a great difference!” It has also made him think about how he wants to spend his money; he wants to buy things of value, things that last.
Levig says Luis definitely seems happier since he has been there, and he has been fully embraced by the rest of the kitchen staff. They coach him both personally and professionally. Luis is the first intern from Sprouts to work with Levig, but he is adamant, it definitely won’t be the last. He says that many of the people working in the kitchen had nothing like the Sprouts internship to help them find their way. He wonders how far many could have gone if someone had reached out to them and helped them like this, how their lives would be different.
Luis agrees that this is a wonderful opportunity and a great fit. “Working at The Dorian, it feels comfortable, just like home. It has good vibes.”
One of Luis’ other passions is art, and he initially thought that an internship in an art program would be his choice. But he also liked what he heard about the Sprouts program and decided to give it a try. He hasn’t given up his love of art, and continues to work on street murals, but the culinary world has won his heart. He isn’t sure exactly where, exactly what, but he wants to be in the food industry.
“The time at Sprouts has opened my mind to taking chances, to doing good things in the world instead of doing bad stuff. Everyone says, ‘Don’t give up, but I won’t say that. If you like a subject, pursue it!” For Luis, that has translated into a future filled with possibilities.
Luis’ experience with Sprouts would not have been possible without the generous donations of our community partners. Help change a life and introduce a Bay Area student to the world of cuisine.