My husband Kurt Clodfelter is one of the rarest people I know, and I mean that in only the best of ways. His entire life Kurt has only ever wanted to be one thing and that was a professional chef. In pursuit of that dream he began catering at the age of 11 and ultimately decided to go to the Culinary Institute of America to complete a rigorous course of training that he still describes as being one of the toughest and best things he has ever done. After graduating from the C.I.A. in 2000 my husband proceeded to open 9 restaurants and still found time to woo me and sweep me off my feet. Things were going strong and he had a promising career in the food business until May of 2003 when he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. On his doctor’s advice Kurt was forced to leave the professional kitchen, the only world he ever knew or loved, and search for other forms of employment. He ultimately found a new passion for teaching and began working with a non profit organization to teach ex-convicts and other “at risk” adults how to cook on a professional level and secure jobs in the restaurant industry so that they had a reason to stop their lives of crime. During this time he also became an ordained minister so as to further gain the trust of his students and more effectively council them on their day to day struggles. As a minister, and a man with M.S., Kurt also felt it was important to reach out and help other men struggling with a disease that affects far more women then men and he started the first and only self help group for men with M.S. in the state of Maryland. Shortly after the culinary program was well set up and running smoothly it was time for Kurt to move on and he started a new treatment for his disease, one that has helped him regain much of what he originally lost, including his cooking career. After 7 years of being out of the professional kitchen working as a wholesaler, a teacher, a restaurant reviewer, and so many other jobs just to keep our heads above water, Kurt has taken a position as the Executive Chef for a local gourmet deli and wine shop. Shortly after his appointment to this position Kurt was the winner of a national recipe contest for J Lohr winery proving that he still has the drive and passion to do whatever it takes to succeed in this challenging field. Kurt has also continued his support of charitable organizations by lending his extensive knowledge of kitchen operations to Sarah’s House a homeless shelter in Maryland that houses dozens of homeless families. Many of his former employees credit Kurt with their positions in the industry and many have even followed in his footsteps and have graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. Kurt’s ability to persevere through the daily uncertainty of M.S. and still remain a force to be reckoned with makes him my hero and I hope his story helps to encourage those of you who haven’t met him yet.