Meet Darnell Ferguson...He Overcame Homelessness & Jail...Now Owns Three Restaurants

Discussion in 'Career, Work, Finances and Education' started by Ockydub, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. Ockydub

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    Darnell Ferguson, 29, has had one heck of a journey to becoming the man he is today. He's gone from being homeless and incarcerated, to owning 3 restaurants. He knows exactly what his purpose is and has persevered through it all to make his dreams come true.

    His journey started his junior year of high school when he transferred from his high school to a local vocational school in Columbus, Ohio that offered culinary arts courses: “I was failing out of high school, then I ended up switching high schools to a vocational school. So I went to vocational school for culinary arts and thought that if I don’t like it, at least I’ll be able to eat good… That was also at the time when Emeril [TV celebrity chef] was huge and I liked what he was doing, so that was one thing that really caught my eye… I liked the uniforms, the professionalism, I liked everything that wasn’t like what I was used to.”

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    Photo Source:Insider Louisville

    After graduating, he studied at Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky. Ferguson arrived at school eager to start, but learned that he could only get partial aid. As a result, he was only able to enroll in a few evening courses and considered dropping out. However, he decided to push forward and excelled. He did so well that he was one of 22 chefs (only two of which were black) chosen out of thousands to be a part of the 2008 Olympic Team in Beijing, China.


    Although things were going well for Ferguson, he still needed money to survive and turned to selling drugs to support himself. Upon graduation, he instead chose to continue selling drugs rather than pursue a career in culinary arts. He wound up being arrested eight times in three months. As a result, he lost all of his possessions and was evicted from his home.

    “The last time getting locked up, I remembered being in class and them talking about being a statistic and how once you get in the system you can’t get out… I started thinking that now I’m the guy that I didn’t want to be… That’s when I told myself that I was going to get serious about something I know that I can do, which is cooking…”

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    Photo Source: Southeast Outlook

    Darnell abandoned selling drugs and started taking jobs at local restaurants around Louisville. This experience led him to learn something new about himself – he had a bad temper. Things became so bad at his job that he and his boss had one argument that almost became physical. That's when he knew something had to give.

    “I had anger issues… The big issue was that I was controlled by it… You could say one little thing to me and I would snap because I didn’t have control over myself… So therefore we would get into it all the time… I became so tired that I asked someone if there was a church around here that I could go to. I went to Southeast Christian and ever since then everything changed for me. I started going to church, starting reading about God because for me, I didn’t know God was real… So that for me was a shock… I wish I would have known this a long time ago but I wouldn’t have listened then, even if you told me… That’s just the truth about it.”

    Darnell lost his job, but he found God. Unemployed for a year, he focused on church and opening his own restaurants. He eventually found two investors, but one canceled before he could secure his investment capital, causing him to lose hope. A few months later he ran into a friend who owned a restaurant that only served lunch and dinner. He offered Ferguson to lease the space for breakfast – a practice called “Pop-Up”. For his skill throughout his cooking career and during the Beijing Olympics, Ferguson was titled a “Super-Chef,” which became the inspiration for the name of the “Pop-Up” - SuperChefs.

    He quickly became known for his work and within months, other restaurant owners were were reaching out to him about opening “Pop-Ups” in their restaurants – one being the same boss that fired him.

    In 2015, Darnell decided to expand and open his own full-service restaurant. After partnering with a friend from college and securing an investor, his dream became a reality on July 9, 2015. Since then, Ferguson has added two more restaurants and four “Pop-Up” locations.

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    Image Credit: http://www.breakfastwithnick.c...

    Ferguson prides himself in serving “high-end” food for an affordable price. The menu items are also centered around comic book themes to make things casual and fun.

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    Image Credit: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos...

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    Image Credit: http://www.columbusunderground...

    Darnell has been through a lot in his young life and is proud of the man he is, but he never forgets where he came from. He always gives honor to God and gives back to his community, giving motivational speeches in his spare time and bringing kids from the West End of Louisville to SuperChefs to tour the restaurant.

    “The journey is the success. Most people think the destination is the success. Don’t let today be taken for granted… Enjoy the journey… Everyone is so focused on the destination… You have to enjoy what’s happening because the growth is the best part.”
     
  2. ChrisM

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    This story is definitely inspiring. I have a restaurant idea that I think will be a success. He has all of this at the age of 29, true meaning of "it's not where you come from, it's where you're going."
     
    Discordant and mojoreece dapped this.
  3. Champagne_Papi

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  4. Discordant

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    Awesome story.
     
  5. African King

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    My life summed up:

    “The journey is the success. Most people think the destination is the success. Don’t let today be taken for granted… Enjoy the journey… Everyone is so focused on the destination… You have to enjoy what’s happening because the growth is the best part.”

    I have been so focused on the destination and not enjoying the journey but life got me learning to take stuff so much slower now.
     
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