Knife Skills: Film about a well-known Cleveland restaurant receives an Oscar nomination

Posted at 1:41 PM, Jan 23, 2018

Cleveland has made it into the national spotlight, yet again. 

The Academy of Motions Picture Arts & Sciences nominated a film about a Cleveland restaurant known for its upscale French cuisine and the second chances that it dishes out.

Produced by the three-time Oscar-nominated director and producer Thomas Lennon, Knife Skills focuses on reentry, second chances and the power of food atEDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute.

"Tom said, 'so what do you do?' And I told him I'm opening the best French restaurant in the world in Cleveland and he said, 'well that's interesting,' and I said, 'and it'll be staffed by men and women coming out of the justice system - really interesting,'" said Brandon Chrostowski, Edwin's President and CEO.

EDWINS, located on Shaker Square, gives formerly incarcerated adults a second chance through food.

"And that's what Edwin's is, an opportunity, for anyone. Second chance, third chance, fourth chance, come in here. If you want to work hard, we've got your back and we'll get it done," Chrostowski said.

Upon being hired, the restaurant teaches the culinary trade while also giving each student the necessary tools to successfully transition from prison to society.

"It was natural, just people being themselves and that's what this place is about. Trying to be yourself," said Edwin's Pastry Chef, Michelle Mattox.

Mattox, an ex-inmate, went through the Edwin's six month training program. She's now the restaurant's head pastry chef. She knows why the film is resonating with so many audiences.

"There are people here that care about you and want you to do better even though you made mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes, nobody's perfect," she said.

In four years, Edwin's has graduated 215 ex-inmates turned chefs. Ninety-five percent of them are employed and only one percent have returned to prison.

When asked if he'll go to the Oscars in March, Chrostowski said, "I'd rather be here in Cleveland where I belong, but if somebody twisted my arm, maybe."

Edwin's re-entry program is so successful, Chrostowski now has plans to open a butcher shop and teach ex-inmates butchery skills.

The 90th Academy Awards airs Sunday, March 4th on News 5.

Knife Skills was nominated in the Best Documentary Short Subject category and is joined by Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 and Heroin(e).

RELATED: Troubled employees getsecondchance at EDWINS restaurant in Shaker Heights

Watch the trailer for Knife Skills below.

Trailer KNIFE SKILLS 2017 from TFL Films LLC on Vimeo.