About a hundred guests filled the dining room at EDWINS restaurant on Shaker Square in Cleveland on Sunday night, but it more than just an ordinary dinner night.
The guests were supporters of EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute, celebrating the Oscar-nominated documentary, Knife Skills, based on the restaurant's mission to provide people with a second chance.
The 40-minute documentary focuses on Chef Brandon Chrostowski's journey to create EDWINS to offer a training program in culinary arts and hospitality for those re-entering the workforce after incarceration.
"I was young, like many of us, and dumb, like many more of us -- just on the wrong path of life," Chrostowski said. "I got arrested, was thrown in jail, facing 5-10 years in prison."
Chrostowski was given a second chance – and decided to help others too.
On Sunday night, staff members and supporters came together for a watch party to celebrating the success on the big screen, but also how seeing the possible is creating a cycle of rebirth.
"Everyone that’s with us has been nominated," Griffin Johnson, external affairs coordinator with EDWINS, said. "Because everyone that’s here has been nominated."
The documentary did not capture the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject, but the recognition means a larger platform to spread a powerful message.
"We're opening people’s eyes to ‘yes we make mistakes, we pick ourselves up, we dust ourselves off and we deserve that second chance.'"
When the doors close Sunday night, it’s back to business on Monday as EDWINS joins dozens of restaurants for Cleveland Restaurant Week beginning Monday.