Sobriety of a Salesman: Chef Delivers Daily Bread

Five years ago, Mike McCoy was two months into his sobriety, living in his 2013 Volkswagen Passat behind his Arizona church. His daily bread consisted of saltine crackers and not much else.

Today, Mike provides 1,255 meals each month to adults and adolescents in early sobriety and spends 10 days in April at Augusta National Golf Club, where he is on the culinary team for members-only Berckman’s Place during the Master’s Golf Tournament.

This is a riches to rags to riches story, if ever there was one.

McCoy is charming, funny, and energetic, qualities that were instrumental in his successful sales career for organizations like the Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars, and Capital Title, jobs that involved lots of schmoozing, living large, and entertaining. And drinking, which ultimately cost him his family and career.

“God gave me an incredible gift,” McCoy said of his sobriety.

Back on his feet and back in Texas, Mike rejoined corporate America, “still wearing the lenses God gave me when I was homeless and hungry,” he added. Lenses focused on gratitude, empathy, servanthood, and sobriety. “When I was working, I made money and had the opportunity to give back, and I didn’t. Now, I don’t have the money, but I want to give back.”

For McCoy, giving back means cooking meals “that speak respect and dignity” and serving them at 33 residential treatment facilities, detox centers, shelters, and sober living homes in North Texas.

How does a salesman cook more than 1,000 meals a month? Self-taught by studying Culinary Institute of America’s textbooks, Mike is also a process management savant. He operates a highly efficient organization that procures, prepares, and provides food for the shelters.

Mike McCoy is the “Chef to the Shelters” and the founder of the nonprofit of the same name. Initially funded by his sales job, which he left to focus on Chef to the Shelters full-time, today CTTS is funded by donations and McCoy’s catering business that counts Kathy and Harlan Crow as clients.

“I cook twice for the same dollar,” McCoy explained. He charges clients only for the cost of goods for the meal. Clients pay cost plus whatever amount they want to donate to CTTS, which is tax-deductible. He uses that revenue to buy food and hire adults in early sobriety to work the private events.

With the holiday season around the corner, McCoy has set a goal to provide 5,000 meals for residents to enjoy on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day, and New Year’s Eve.

To meet this goal, Chef to the Shelters will need to have quite a few private events booked on his catering schedule. He created a GoFundMe campaign to fund holiday meals.

Adults in early sobriety need support every day, but particularly during the holidays, which are typically filled with a mix of celebration and stress.

Chef to the Shelters does more than provide wholesome, hearty meals to those in recovery. He provides daily bread: respect, dignity, empathy, and hope for recovery.

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Kersten Rettig

Kersten Rettig is the only DFW Food/Travel writer with luxury hospitality leadership experience and a former restaurant owner, employee, and chief marketing officer. Kersten's worked on the inside and has the insight and experience to tell the stories to the outside. She's a Park Cities resident, mom, wife and a decent cook. Follow her on Instagram @KerstenEats.

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