CNN Hero of the Year for 2014 award recipient Bruno Serato realizes most of us never give it a second thought about where our next meal is coming from. It may come as a shock to you but in the shadows of Disneyland, often referred to as the "happiest place on Earth," many children are living a reality that is heartbreaking. They are living in cheap motels more commonly associated with drug dealers, prostitutes and illicit affairs. It's the only option for many families that are struggling financially and can't scrape together a deposit for a decent apartment. By living week to week in these cramped quarters, they stay one step ahead of homelessness.
While "motel kids" are found across the United States, the situation is very common in Orange County, California, a wealthy community with high rents and a large number of old motels. In 2009, local authorities estimated that more than 1,000 families lived in these conditions. When Chef and Owner of the Anaheim White House restaurant Bruno Serato learned that these children often go hungry, he knew he had to do something; he began serving up assistance, one plate at a time. To date, he's served more than 270,000 pasta dinners -- for free -- to those children in need.
Bruno Serato has made it his life's mission not just to feed his beloved "motel kids," but to help others
help others. His new book, Bruno's Kitchen: How One of America's Top Chefs Learned to Feed the Country's Hungriest Children tells readers how to do just that. His restaurant, The Anaheim White House, is the only eating establishment in North America that serves 600 free dinners to local homeless "motel" kids every night, with over half a million free dinners served to date. And these aren't just leftovers; 600 meals are cooked, nightly, fresh, from scratch, in Bruno's own kitchen just down the street from the local Boys Club, where it all began. What's so amazing is that, while thousands of restaurants simply toss out their leftovers at the end of the night, Bruno Serato has turned caring, and sharing, into an art form at his famed "White House" restaurant in Anaheim, California.
Written in Bruno's engaging, humble voice, Bruno's Kitchen helps readers understand that the true American spirit isn't just about getting everything you can, but about giving to those who've never had the same opportunities as most of us. Through his charitable work, his celebrity friends, his media connections and the thousands of customers who come into his restaurant every year, Bruno hopes to reach a large and wide audience with both his story and his message of hope, charity and social entrepreneurism.