Chicago Tribune

From prison to pioneer: A chef's dream to transform one Chicago corner

CHICAGO - The flowers by the door of Dream Chef Kitchen aren't real. But on a dreary day in March, they offered a hopeful note of what might eventually grow.

Growth is important to the catering company and restaurant's owner and chef, Nichelle Benford. She's done a lot of growing lately. Growing into the kind of woman who wouldn't stake her future on anyone but herself; the kind of businesswoman who believes she can create space to serve as encouragement to other entrepreneurs eyeing a corner neighbored by empty lots. And growing into the kind of person who believed her story did not end on the 2010 day when she was sentenced to prison.

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