Melody Stein wanted to be a chef from the time she was a girl. Now the 45-year-old is living her dream even though a rejection many years ago made it seem almost impossible.
A forever “foodie” from a young age, Stein knew she wanted to pursue her passion by attending the California Culinary Academy.
Sadly, because Stein is deaf, the academy would not allow her to attend at that time.
“[The school] called my mom and said we can’t accept her application because she’s deaf,” Stein told The Washington Post. “What if they were in the kitchen trying to yell, ‘Out of the way!’ with hot soup? They viewed me as a liability.”
The academy, later on, accepted deaf students but closed in 2017. Now, about 20 years later, Stein has proven that a deaf chef doesn’t equal disaster.
In fact, Stein’s pizza restaurant in San Francisco — Mozzeria — has grown to be so successful, a new one is opening in Washington D.C.
Stein runs the Neapolitan-style pizzeria with her husband, 47-year-old Russ Stein, who is deaf as well. The pair has made it a point to open up job opportunities for the deaf community.
Thanks to the Communication Service for the Deaf Social Venture Fund, a multi-million dollar investment will bring a new Mozzeria not far from Gallaudet University in 2020.
The school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing dates back to 1856. Today, the school offers over 40 undergraduate degree programs.
“It’s been a longtime dream to see a deaf-owned restaurant in Washington, D.C.,” Russ Stein told The Post through a signed interview alongside Melody.
The restaurant will be located at 1300 H St. NE, mere blocks away from a Starbucks that hires only deaf employees and runs on sign language.
Mozzeria hires only deaf employees, but all food lovers are welcome at their establishment. Restaurant-goers can order through sign, pointing or writing down their desired menu items.
The Steins hope to one day expand their reach and open even more Mozzeria restaurants in other places.
Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, reached out to Melody Stein for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.
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