Woman denied opening at culinary school goes on to open restaurants

A deaf woman who was denied her dream of going to culinary school is proving her naysayers wrong.Melody Stein’s family owned and operated a Chinese eatery in California. When she applied to the California Culinary Academy, her application was denied because she was deaf. “What if they were in the kitchen trying to yell, ‘Out of the way!’ with hot soup? They viewed me as a liability,” her interpreter said. 

That “no” only gave Stein more ammunition to make her dreams happen. It took 20 years, but now Melody and her also deaf husband, Russ, co-own Mozzeria, a Neapolitan-style pizza joint in San Francisco. And they only hire deaf employees to help break down barriers in the workplace. They’re also gearing up to open a Mozzeria in Washington, DC by spring 2020 with plans to expand to other major cities. 

Naturally, all pizza lovers all welcomed. Anyone can order by sign language, pointing, or the pen and paper that’s placed at each table. “We’re good at making sure our customer experience is a good one because we’re excellent at reading their body language,” Russ says. “There’s nothing more powerful than seeing that customer smile after eating that pizza.”

Melody isn't bitter about being denied the shot at Culinary school. "Everyone faces adversities in life. It helps define who we become. Don't hate the obstacles, use them to make yourself better. My dream was to be a Chef, but my life is so much better then what I had even wanted".

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