CANVASREBEL - Meet Bill Bracken
STORIES & INSIGHTS15 HOURS AGO
We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Bill Bracken a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Bill thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. So let’s jump to your mission – what’s the backstory behind how you developed the mission that drives your brand?
I literally had no idea the impact my decision to create and start Bracken’s Kitchen would have on so many people. I’ve come to realize that there’s a lot of people walking through life wondering if there isn’t something more. Something more meaningful, something more heart felt or just something more that they should be doing. Or as Dr. Martin Luther King quoted so many years ago, Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What Are You Doing For Others?” After all, deep inside of every one of us is a longing and desire to know that in some way, it has made a difference that we have lived.
People often ask me about the decision I made to walk away from a successful career as a chef to feed the homeless and less fortunate. I certainly couldn’t have chosen a new path with a bigger contrast from my past life. I’ve gone from feeding the top 2% to the bottom 10%. But God has truly blessed me through this. While I know it’s common and cool for sports stars to point up to God when they do something great on the field of play but in my case my story is pretty simple, God truly did for me what I couldn’t do for myself.
I was always a slave to money. Not because I needed fancy things but because of the immense fear of not being able to provide for my family. I attribute this to the time in my childhood when my father’s company, ironically Seitz Foods, was on strike and he wasn’t working. My bedroom was closest to the kitchen and I remember lying in bed at night while mom and dad sat at the kitchen table trying to figure out how they would get by. They worked so very hard to ensure that we kids had all that we needed and never went without but those times were very tough. There were lots of nights when dinner was a slice of white bread and some soup poured over the top, ie: SOS, “Stuff On a Shingle”
I believe it was that time in my life that created this immense pressure to be able to earn a decent living and provide for my family. Along with making my father proud of me truly drove me. I’m not sure how a country boy from a town of a little over 1000 people ended up in Beverly Hills but I did. Along the way I got caught up in the career rat race. After all I lived in Southern California and worked in either Beverly Hills or Newport Beach for more than 35 years. What you wear, what you drive, where you dine and who you hang out with was the world I worked in. A world driven by success which was defined by the size of your bank account. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with success and wealth but when the drive and desire to achieve it blinds you to what is going on all around you, there’s a problem.
I got caught up in that to some degree and lost my way. My focus on my own success caused me to have a blind eye and lack of compassion for those with so much less. That drive to succeed and make dad proud fueled me and was my only priority.