Lukshon

One chef's road from addiction and fine dining to the teaching kitchen

One chef's road from addiction and fine dining to the teaching kitchen

When Charlie Negrete started working in restaurant kitchens as a teenager, he was already an addict. Growing up in East Los Angeles, he’d witnessed so much drug use among his family members that he saw nothing unusual about developing a meth habit in middle school. He was thrilled when the owner of the Alameda restaurant where he was washing dishes at 15 started getting him high after work.

Negrete was also getting promoted — from dishes to making salads, then on to the dessert station — and it seemed a nice life. He figured it would be cool to end up like the restaurant’s owner one day, a guy “walking around with a glass of wine and a joint. Nice cars in the driveway.”

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EDITION: California | U.S. & World
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