HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Maryland resident Steven Allbright has had quite a journey from prison inmate to master chef. And he has had quite an impact helping others since his time on the outside.
Allbright is launching a culinary arts training program for those behind bars so they will have a skill when they are released that can lead to a stable job and help them work their way back into society. Allbright served time on domestic violence charges. But he watched cooking shows on television while doing time and decided he wanted to be a chef after his release. He now serves thousands of meals to the needy in Baltimore through the Catholic Diocese Franciscan Center.
“We serve really great food,” says Allbright. “A lot of nutrition, a lot of fresh foods and we’re getting away from the processed foods and the sugars and so forth, things that are harmful and not good for us.”
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, the New Jersey native had a career in protective services in New York City, providing security to celebrities. One of his details was the 1993 wedding of Donald Trump and Marla Maples. When jailed in 2007, Allbright dedicated himself to sobriety. After his release he became a chef’s apprentice in New Orleans, with that city’s exotic food scene. He later earned a culinary arts degree and now helps prepare 7,000 meals a day for the homeless and at-risk — a project supported by the executive director of the Franciscan Center.
“When you meet Steve you know you met someone who is unique,” says Jeffrey Griffin. “He is passion driven and has a thirst and hunger for learning but also to serve his fellow human.”
And Allbright is passionate about the quality and nutritional value of the food served, especially for those in the vulnerable populations who need to eat healthy. No sugar. Ingredients must be fresh. Brown rice instead of white rice. And he is all about being creative in the kitchen and delivering a menu of variety. Those who know him well say Allbright is on his way to culinary stardom while helping those who need a “lift up.”
Allbright spends time in Hagerstown with the Gatekeepers program that helps transition inmates into meaningful livelihoods after their release.