Edwin _big smile

Edwin Mendez

Esperanza Community Services

Edwin Mendez is a resident of Esperanza’s CILA program and a participant in their WorkReady Program. During the day, he builds academic and vocational skills and is recently most interested in building his customer service skills with the goal of becoming a coffee shop barista. He is also a talented artist who loves to draw scenes from everyday life, including people, buildings, and cars. Edwin loves delicious food, and his favorite dishes are rooted in his love of family and his Puerto Rican heritage.


Chef Aaron McKay

Aaron McKay began his culinary journey working at various restaurants across Chicago, previously holding kitchen roles at Moto, Le Lan, Schwa and NoMI. He most recently spent time working as a corporate executive chef at Hyatt Hotels and as executive chef at Mercat a la Planxa and Blackstone Hotel before his current role. Now as an executive chef, McKay brings vast culinary experience to his role at Filini serving authentic, seasonal Italian cuisine. He prides himself on gathering the freshest and highest quality ingredients, and preparing them in a way that make the ingredients truly shine on the plate.

About Esperanza Community Services

Esperanza Community Services is an inclusive nonprofit organization where children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, as well as behavior needs, are supported to reach their full potential. Its mission is accomplished through programs delivered at our campus in West Town and programs throughout Chicago that serve nearly 250 individuals every year. To learn more about Esperanza and ways to help keep its doors open, please visit  and its programs or to make a donation, visit www.esperanzacommunity.org or find them on Twitter at @ECSinChicago and Instagram at @esperanzacommunity.