Dream Day: Veteran turns adversity into culinary masterpiece

Recently, Reggie was a recipient of WCNC's Dream Day. The 108th Training Division of Charlotte helped to surprise him along with fellow classmates at Johnson and Wales University.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It was an unforgettable dream day for an aspiring Charlotte chef.

Reginald DesRavines grew up in south Florida and had a troubled youth.

“Coming up where I did in North Miami, Florida, it wasn’t easy,” he said. “Constantly getting kicked out of the house. To get through the day-to-day, I was doing what I had to do to get by.”

After facing trouble with drugs and serving jail time, Reggie said it was time to get on a winning path. So, he joined the Army and says he learned that you can get through anything if you have the right people surrounding you.

“Everybody knew that he was a good chef,” said Law. “And his sister said, ‘have you considered going to school at Johnson & Wales University,’ and that’s how he ended up here.”

He’s now a recent graduate of Johnson and Wales University and is pursuing his bachelor’s degree.

"I can't imagine the adversity that he has gone through," says Melinda Law, Community and Media Relations Director, Johnson and Wales University.

That includes a rough start at school because he is dyslexic.

“When I started school, I actually had some learning disabilities,” Reggie said. “I said, ‘hey, I’m not trying to fail, I know I can do this, they said you’re here to help, so help me.’”

The director of the center for academic support said I’m going to help you.

“We developed a friendship I would say, almost from the very beginning,” said Susan Flaherty. “Because I was able to show him that some people are willing to help and I think that helped him start to turn a corner.”

Recently, Reggie was a recipient of WCNC's Dream Day. The 108th Training Division of Charlotte helped to surprise him along with fellow classmates at Johnson and Wales University.

"I'll be honest I feel like I won the lottery," DesRavines told WCNC's Beth Troutman.


First, he was treated to a VIP shopping experience at Sur la Table. The store donated hundreds of dollars of items for his Dream Day.

"He is such an incredible person and we would like to do anything we can to help someone of his stature," says Paul Close, Manager of Sur la Table.

Then DesRavines worked with Greg Zanich, the Owner of the Fig Tree Restaurant in Charlotte, to create a special menu and meal.

"I think passion and drive is there and you can see it in him," says Zanich.

These days DesRavines does homework with his two kids.

"If you want everything you deserve out of life you have to go get it and you can't be afraid to do that."

Do you know of someone who deserves a dream day? Click here to nominate them.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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