Man looking to open a restaurant after prison and addiction

From prison to businessman

Sarita Patel

A man has returned to Kelowna, the city he spent his troubled teenage and early adult years in, to start a new business after cleaning up his life and getting sober in prison.

Edward Malone’s discovery that he was adopted at the age of 11 sent him spiralling into destruction, experimenting with drugs and causing him to have his first heart palpitation at age 13, eventually leading to four heart attacks and two strokes. 

He moved to Kelowna alone when he was just 15 in an attempt to get a fresh start, but instead fell into the same habits. After bouncing around the Coast and continuing to struggle with his addiction, he returned to Kelowna.

August 9 marks six years since he attempted to take his own life at the downtown bus loop with a loaded handgun. After an unknown teen talked him down, Malone saw it as a new lease on life and turned his life around for the better.  

“My time, I’d felt, had come for no return and that was why I had felt that this would be the easiest way to put myself out of the picture without thinking of the repercussions that followed,” Malone said, talking about that day at the bus loop."

Malone was sentenced to two years, less a day for possession of a weapon and for possession of a weapon with dangerous intent.

“I only served five-months out of the two-years due to good behaviour, trying to motivate, trying to inspire, obviously doing all my due diligence as a criminal to really do whatever I can to get my life on track.”

Malone started his sobriety journey the day he was sentenced and has made it almost five-years — as he showcased, proudly, five keychains on his keyring. 

He’s now chef trained by the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. Last March he started his own catering company, which he says was successful until COVID hit. 

That’s when his fiancée and he fell into the vegan lifestyle. 

“We decided, hey, let’s actually take this and start it into a business where we can produce an organic, farm to table ambience but for a reasonable price to the community of the Okanagan.”

True Flavours will be an organic vegan cafe and catering company where he says they won't be sourcing any of their food from outside of the Okanagan Valley.

“We have the farmers here... sustainability is here and more importantly the times and the community are moving towards that direction.”

He attributes his drive to two ladies in his life.

“My daughter, I haven’t been involved in her life as much as I’d liked to be, and now that I am back in Kelowna, I can finally spend time with my daughter and give her the love and the attention that she has most desperately needed over her time of growing up.”

The second is his fiancé, Noha Youssef, who he met in Vancouver and has been with him on his journey from the start. 

“He told me everything that he had done from the very beginning of his life to now where he’s sitting in front of me, and very detailed stories. No one has ever been that honest with me and this was what I was always looking for,” said Youssef, who is the co-owner of True Flavours and also a chef. 

Redemption for Malone is paramount. He wants to give back to the community that helped him through his darkest times. 

“The world looks at you like one thing but when you come back … and say you’re a completely different person with almost five-year sobriety behind me now,” said Malone. “I’ve actually proven not only to myself but to the community, the police force here in Kelowna, that people can change and willing to be involved with the community for however long it takes.”

“Everywhere we go, we pretty much see someone that knew Eddie from the past and now they just look at him and their jaws just drop. They’re like, ‘oh, my God! I cannot believe that you have changed that much,” added Youssef. 

Malone says once their doors are open, he wants to continue to give back. 

“I want to get a give-a-meal, get-a-meal program in process, I want to work with the union gospel mission and the other establishments in the Okanagan to be able to give back, whether it’s dedicating my time in their kitchen to dropping off some food for their clients “

His biggest piece of advice to those struggling is to find a passion and pour your whole heart into it to achieve your goals.

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