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A cancer survivor, chef now cooking up a storm

By Anthony J. Machcinski

Kearny —

Just think, if only for a minute, what it might be like to lose something that affected what you do the best, whether it be a writer losing his hands or a marathon runner losing a foot.

This is what happened to former Kearny resident David Guerrero.

Two years ago this April, Guerrero was diagnosed with brain cancer and had a tumor removed. After the surgery, a stroke compounded his already formidable challenge.

“After my surgery, my first fear was thinking that I would never be able to do anything again,” explained Guerrero, who now resides in Houston. “I used to be fluent in Portuguese. Don’t remember much of that anymore. I had to relearn how to speak English and how to Salsa dance. My main concern was that I lost my taste.”

Guerrero, who at the time of his setbacks was employed as a personal chef by NBA basketball player, Tracy McGrady, had lost the one thing that a chef relies on most; his taste buds.

“I couldn’t see myself doing anything else in a real profession,” said Guerrero, who also lost much of the functionality in his left hand.

Then, one single discovery allowed Guerrero to continue pursuing his passion.

“I learned that about 80 percent of your taste comes from your nose,” Guerrero said. “I had only lost about 10 percent of my ability in my nose.”

Guerrero’s grit and determination got him back into the food business. After becoming a Sous Chef at Samba Grille – a South American inspired restaurant in Houston – Guerrero was promoted to the position of Executive Chef.

Despite all that he has been through, Guerrero has managed to stay positive.

“I believe that God gave me a second chance. I’m not perfect, but I want to do my best to prove to people that there’s always hope; that no matter what, you can follow your dreams. It’s all about hard working and believing in yourself.”

Now that Guerrero has started to get back on his feet, he has dreams of his own that he would like to see completed.

“I really want to open my own restaurant and I’m going to do it,” said Guerrero with newfound confidence. “I want to open a French and American Restaurant with a twist of South America—it’s a fusion. (South Americans) have tons of foods that people have never seen before in this country.”

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