Ron Johnson has always been a cook. From baking donuts in his Raleigh home as a kid to working in everything from fast food to fine dining to hospital kitchens, Chef Ron has over 30 years of experience.
“I’m a food person,” he said. “I prepare food for the hearts of people.”
Chef Ron has worked at Raleigh Rescue Mission as Kitchen Manager/Chef for two years, though he has been connected to the Mission for much longer. He used to drop off bakery leftovers when he and his wife Veronica owned the Tasty Pastry, which was located in North Hills. He also knew two young men at their church who lived at the Mission and would drive them to and from church.
“I did not know God’s plan at that time, but He was planting the seed for such a time as this,” he said.
Chef Ron truly serves the Mission full-time. He prepares breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week for 60-80 people. With the help of about eight clients, Chef Ron begins to make breakfast at 5:45 a.m., and dinner is cleaned up around 6 p.m.
Between meals, he’s prepping for the next one. It’s during this time that he gets to know the clients.
“If you take anyone and position them in a kitchen, they will speak from the heart,” he said. “Everyone has a warm memory from the kitchen.”
Chef Ron loves to see people join the New Life Plan and hear their stories. He always asks clients the same thing: “What is it that brought you here, and what is it that you want?” No matter the length of their stay, Chef Ron is glad they are poured into by the staff, volunteers, and donors for that season.
“The greatest reward is to be able to identify and see goodness in each and every one that comes in – to see their true purpose and what they’re created for,” he said. “Sometimes we stay in the wilderness so much that instead of seeing how good we are and how wonderfully we’re made, we’re identified with negativity.”
Chef Ron wants to thank those who invest in Raleigh Rescue Mission. “I pray that God will continue to bless them above and beyond because of all they do for the faces they don’t see and the clients they don’t even know,” he said. “Each and every donor is a blessing.”
Thank you, Chef Ron, for how you humbly serve the Mission with your talents and heart for others.
Chef Ron’s Cooking Advice: Cook what you like. Try your best to cook what people want. Put a lot of love in it, and present it like you see it.