Danny Delcambre - If I Can, You Can

Alexi and Brad

On Tuesday, August 12, Danny Delcambre, the first deaf-blind founder and operator of a Seattle restaurant, gave an inspirational speech on his accomplishments. Having grown up in Louisiana, prime Cajun country, Danny appropriately named his restaurant Ragin Cajun. A student of world renown chef Paul Prudhomme, Danny is experienced in the fine art of cooking. Proof of success is in the form of recognition by high authority. Named the Small Business Employer of the Year by the President of the United States and subsequently followed by the Small Businessman of the Year awards by the City of Seattle and the State of Washington, his path to success was not easy though.

In order to graduate from culinary school, Danny needed an internship with a chef. Applying many times to famous chefs for an internship in cooking, he was turned down or asked to do menial jobs such as sweeping the floor or washing dishes. Finally, Danny was accepted for what he was, a chef, by Paul Prudhomme and he received the internship that he needed. Attempting to get a job after graduation from culinary school, Danny was turned down every time. Fed up, Danny decided to found his own restaurant, the Ragin Cajun. He had to set up a business plan to present to the bank. His first counselor was too negative about Danny's chances, so Danny asked for a new counselor and received a positive counselor. Thus Danny was able to get his first bank loan with relatively no trouble because of the help that the counselor from the Small Business Association gave him. Thus Danny Delcambre made history by founding the first deaf-blind owned restaurant, and found out the secrets of success.

Pertaining to the If I Can, You Can theme of the speech, Danny gave his five 'spices of success' for all to follow, both able and disabled. The first spice is to find your passion. It's o.k. to change your passion. This Danny knows because he had jobs that he thought he liked then changed his mind. The second spice is surround yourself with positive people. Get rid of the negative people. An example of Danny accomplishing this is when he had asked for a new business counselor when his first counselor was too negative. The third spice is to be your own best friend. What this means is that you have to like yourself before you can be successful.

The fourth spice is to enjoy life. Have fun! Find a sense of balance between work and play. The fifth and final spice is keep your sense of humor. An example of Danny's sense of humor is when his friend asked him for the sign "hello." Danny, instead of hello, taught his friend the sign for "horny." His friend went to a party populated by deaf people that signed, and Danny's friend went around the party signing "horny" when he meant "hello."

All of Danny's stories made for a very entertaining hour and a half. It was one of the best speeches that I ever heard, and to top it all off, Danny made his fantastic speech in American Sign Language where most of the people in the room could only understand him through a voice interpreter. In the end, Sheryl Burgstahler, the director of DO-IT, asked Danny how we, the audience, could show our appreciation for his speech. Danny said, for the blind, you clap. For the deaf, you raise your hands and shake them. And for the deaf- blind, you stamp your feet on the ground. Everyone stamped their feet!