Chef Darren: The Challenge of Profound Deafness
Born profoundly deaf, Darren Weiss was a frustrated child. While powerful hearing aids helped him pick up some sounds, by age four Darren had no grasp of language. "Chef Darren: The Challenge of Profound Deafness" explores the impact of the family members and teachers who refused to let Darren's challenges keep him from communicating and documents how, with determination, Darren ultimately learned to speak and became a father, a teacher and the chef of his own trend-setting Los Angeles restaurant. As a child, Darren attended classes and therapy sessions at noted speech pathologist Helen Beebe's clinic in Easton, Pennsylvania. Despite the intensive work, Darren showed little progress in developing language skills. In the film, Darren and his family recount the pivotal period when Darren's work with one therapist at the clinic clicked, and he began to speak and express himself. After attending and graduating from public school with hearing children, Darren was left with the question of what to do next. A lifelong passion for cooking led Darren to earn his degree at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and later, to open a successful restaurant in Southern California. Today, working with the organization No Limits for Deaf Children, Darren leads hands-on cooking classes for hearing-impaired kids that help empower his students. With deaf-owned businesses on the rise around the country and deaf culture thriving, this film is an inspirational program about living with a disability while accomplishing goals.