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Profile: Maurice Cathy

on October 13, 2009

With at least a year remaining on his parole, Maurice Cathy hunkered down to spend 14 months in the culinary training and recovery program at the Bay Area Rescue Mission.

Cathy, 28, said he’s been in jail eight or nine times. Most recently, he had been in San Quentin for dealing drugs in Richmond.

Six months after he began the recovery program, much to his surprise, Cathy’s sentence was commuted. He was free to go.

But Cathy was determined to break the cycle of incarceration he had been caught up in for years. He decided to stay.

“I wouldn’t leave up out of here without a plan,” Cathy said.

“I do the same thing over. I come home; I end up selling drugs. I get me a place, I get some furniture, I get everything I need. And within a year, I’m back in jail again,” said Cathy, who grew up in Oakland and Richmond.

The kitchen seems a good fit for Cathy, whose family has owned and operated several well-known soul food restaurants in the East Bay.

After he completes the program in December, Cathy said he may devote himself fully to running the family business, which his mother has been encouraging him to do.

“Growing up eating soul food all my life, it’s not the healthiest thing for you, but it is the happiest thing,” Cathy said.

But since he’s been in the program, Cathy has begun to appreciate eating healthfully. He said he now weighs 220 pounds, down from 240 when he joined.

“I’ve been brainstorming for a while how to make soul food healthy,” Cathy said. “It’s not the easiest thing to do.”

|Rescue Mission Profiles

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