Renee Taylor was busy when I spoke with her. She was making 500 meals, following the day’s menu, “tamales, tacos, rice, pico,” accompanied by the background clamor of clattering metal serving trays.
Following her release in 2013 after 25 years in various Chicago-area prisons, the 52-year-old Taylor has been prepping and delivering meals for the food service company ChiFresh Kitchen. This isn’t any old restaurant gig: Taylor owns a piece of her workplace. ChiFresh belongs to its five worker-owners, all of whom have also done time.
Taylor, who had previously bounced between various retail jobs, was nervous at first about becoming a worker-owner, but she quickly warmed up to an unusual opportunity that included free classes in business fundamentals like bookkeeping that ChiFresh sponsors. “I really want to learn everything about the business,” she says. “I want to make it grow.”
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