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Cooking at GLIDE

Chef Wing reflects on 10 years in the Daily Free Meals program

Cho Wing is approaching his tenth anniversary with GLIDE as a loved and valued member of our Daily Free Meals team. To mark the occasion, Chef Wing offers the following words on his journey. We are blessed to have him as a colleague and friend and deeply grateful for all he continues to give to our community—the nourishment, the dedication, the love! Congratulations, Wing!

I immigrated to USA and lived in the SF Bay Area in the summer of 2008. During the first two years, every morning I went to adult school to learn English and in the afternoon went to the library to read some Chinese newspapers to find some Chinese jobs, but all jobs were not so long. At last, I saw an advertisement in a Chinese newspaper about a Chinese organization holding a cooking class with a cooking school. The school fee was $2,400, three months learning, and three months paid internship. I thought maybe this class could help me find a job? The fee was too expensive, but the paid internship could earn back the school fee, even if I could not find a job. I didn’t lose much, and I could learn some cooking skills, so I joined the class. 

The school had Chinese and English teachers and had a big kitchen to learn cooking skills. The class was Okay, but when we finished the class, the school informed us that they could not find a paid internship for us. We could only do voluntary internships. My classmates were very unhappy, some classmates did not do it, only a few classmates and I accepted to be volunteers at GLIDE’s kitchen. That changed my destiny.

The cook who just cooked breakfast and lunch retired due to illness. At that time, the GLIDE kitchen could not find a new cook. The manager then, Bruce, temporarily replaced him. So, I helped Bruce to cook, and he taught me many cooking skills. I worked hard, he taught me patiently. I did this for about three weeks. The coordinator of the cooking school told me that Bruce liked my performance. So, I requested Bruce to give me a job. He replied to me, “Maybe.”

A few days later, I became an employee of GLIDE kitchen. That day was April 11, 2011. This year on April 11, I will be working in GLIDE for ten years.

During the first two years in the work at GLIDE, I was a little unhappy. Because I had worked in Chinese society for more than 40 years, and this was my first real contact with American society. Many living habits and working methods are also different. So, sometimes I would have some quarrels with my coworkers, but slowly everyone and I accepted the others. Actually, most people are friendly.

My work has gotten smoother, and the kitchen has been updated with many new pieces of equipment, making it easier for me to work. After working at GLIDE for nearly ten years, GLIDE not only gave me a stable income, but also let me contact more different people and learn more about social issues. It also made me feel successful at work and enjoy life.

Cho Wing (center) and Daily Free Meals team colleagues with Christmas dinner, Dec. 2020.