Brandon Chrostowski answers questions following the presentation of "Knife Skills," Tom Lennon's documentary about Chrostowski's restaurant Edwins, opening the 2017 Chagrin Documentary Film Fest at the Chagrin Valley Little Theater Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.   (Peggy Turbett Photography)

Brandon E. Chrostowski

Managing Director and Consultant

Brandon Edwin Chrostowski is on a mission to change the face of re-entry in the United States. In 2007, he founded EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute, with the belief that every human being regardless of their past has the right to a fair and equal future. Under Chrostowski’s leadership, EDWINS has grown to include culinary education and life skills training at its flagship Cleveland, Ohio restaurant and Second Chance Life Skills Center, a program at Grafton Correctional Institute, and curriculum for inmates of all 30 Ohio prisons.

A trained chef and sommelier, Chrostowski has worked at some of the finest restaurants in Paris, New York, and Chicago, including Lucas Carton, Chanterelle, Picholine, Le Cirque and Charlie Trotter’s. He earned dozens of awards including CNN Heroes, Crain’s 40 under 40 and The Richard C. Cornuelle Award from the Manhattan Institute for Social Entrepreneurship and is the subject of the Academy nominated documentary Knife Skills. Chrostowski holds an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Restaurant Management from The Culinary Institute of America. He is married to Catana and is a proud father of Leo and Lilly.


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Michael Flaherty

General Manager

Flaherty started his first restaurant job right here in Medina at the Grand Market Café. He then went on to work with Chef Zack Bruell (L’Albatros), Chef Dante Boccuzzi (Dante), Chef Jonathon Sawyer (Trentina), and as a stagiaire at Michelin 3-star Grace (Chicago). After working with Chrostowski at L’Albatros, Flaherty became his assistant GM as they were opening EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute. Most recently, Michael opened and developed the concept of the very highly-rated Ushabu, in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood before returning to Medina to open Sérénité.


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Gilbert Brenot

Executive Chef

Brenot trained at the culinary school in Capbreton, France and then made his way to the French Riviera for six years. In 1980 he landed at the legendary Paris Bar in West Berlin, before leaving for New York City in 1982.  It was there that Gilbert first became an executive chef with the opening of Zinc in Tribeca before departing for Cleveland in 1984.

In 1998, Gilbert took over as the chef and owner of Maxi’s in Cleveland’s Little Italy. He would remain there the next 15 years before retiring in 2013.  Brenot came out of retirement to be the opening executive chef at EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute. There, Brenot was able to cook his most important recipe yet: a second chance for his students.  He is extremely happy to be back with the team to open Sérénité Restaurant, where he can continue to mentor and nurture the growth of our future chefs.


Jessica Hazeltine

Administrative Manager, Recovery Center of Medina County

Jessica is a person in recovery who is committed to improving the lives of others in recovery. She is a member of the 2019 Signature Leadership Medina County class, Main Street Medina, 100 + Women Who Care, the Women’s Network of Northeast Ohio, the Medina County Career Center Adult Education Medical Assisting Advisory Council, the National Association of Social Workers, the Family First Trauma Informed Care Committee and an active participant and supporter of the R.A.K.E. (Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere) movement and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research. In addition to managing the recovery center, she is the artist and owner of a small business, J.Scribbs Custom Hand Lettering and Calligraphy, LLC.