At a soup kitchen in St. Paul, Minn., Jeff Ansorge does more than dish out free food on Thanksgiving.
With five-star service — and a pinch of parsley — his daily menu specialty is a meal with dignity — there are even “real plates,” according to one client.
It’s something Ansorge learned at culinary school as well as while working in one of the finest restaurants in Minneapolis.
Ansorge had it all — an A list clientele, a staff of 17 and a near six-figure salary as executive chef at the Capital Grille — and then the 40-year-old walked away.
After 12 years at the Grille, he took a job in October 2012 at the Salvation Army Eastside Corps Community Center.
“I wanted the high-paying job. I wanted the big house. I wanted the cars,” he told The Associated Press. “And ultimately, none of that satisfied me. … And now I have none of that.”
Despite the nearly 70 percent pay cut, Ansorge said he is now rich beyond measure as he preaches daily about generosity and service.
In 2011, 64 million Americans volunteered their time, according to the Charity Navigator. At the Food Bank of New York City, for example, the number of people who have expressed interest in volunteering is up 20 percent this holiday season.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.