SAN ANTONIO — The art of cooking has transformed one veteran's life, and now he's dishing out healing to others.
“I can tell you from my own experience, cooking is a pain management tool," says Army vet Charles Huffstutler.
"There's a lot of times when I’m in severe pain but I’ll go out of my way to cook something. Just to not to have to worry about that pain. I think, that cognitively it helps with that as well."
Huffstutler served 11 years in the Army as a combat engineer. During his service, he was injured by an IED. He suffered brain damage and sustained a spinal cord injury. Huffstutler underwent 14 procedures and struggles with physical pain on a daily basis, but he began cooking and found it to be therapeutic.
“Traumatic brain injury is one that affects cognitive abilities that a lot of veterans including myself have. I've had seizures. I had a spinal cord injury as well, that causes me a great deal of pain that's where the outlet of cooking comes in,” he said.
After his service, Huffstutler went to culinary school. The Warrior Chef officially became a non-profit in 2012. KENS 5 followed him as he held a cooking class with other chefs who are veterans. The Pink Berets, a women veterans organization, hosted a class for couples in February. Huffstutler shared how the experience has helped veterans manage their stress, PTSD and pain.
“Warrior Chef is an organization that I created to help veterans overcome adversity through cooking,” he said. “I've had some veterans tell me that they bring home some of those same skills to their family. They even get their kids involved with cooking. That to me, to bring the whole family together, really makes me happy knowing that I provided a great job to help them.”
If you would like more information on the Warrior Chef, click here.