Getting A Chef Back On His Feet And Back In The Kitchen!
Passion is a part of everyday life for Gemal Eustache; when he’s in the kitchen, he channels that passion into creating gourmet dishes that reflect not only his diverse cultural heritage but his travels around the country and the world as well. When a car accident caused severe injuries to his knee and hip, it left him with a challenge he didn’t anticipate, and those injuries stood between him and his passion for cooking. With the support of his family, Dr. Michael Quackenbush, and the team at Resurgens Orthopaedics, Chef Gemal is working harder than ever to regain his ability to walk so he can get back to the kitchen.
Born in New York City, Gemal moved to the Atlanta area at age 5. Since then he’s moved around quite a bit, living (briefly) in cities from Philadelphia to Miami and picking up culinary influences along the way, although he says his biggest influence comes from his mother and her Haitian heritage, which is something he likes to explore in his cooking.
“I’m classically French-trained with a personal interest in Latin and Asian cuisine… but Caribbean fusion is the most fun for me.”
Gemal began his culinary career while still in school training to be a chef. During that time, he worked in restaurants all over Atlanta and even put together parties for friends and family as he learned. By the time he graduated, he had all the skills and knowledge he needed to eventually start his own catering business, A Creative Taste. Today, at age 32, he’s already built quite a reputation for himself; in fact, he was coming home from a consultation with one local restaurant owner when he got into the car accident that would change his life.
“December 13th (2018) I was on the way home from a Korean fusion restaurant I opened up with a buddy of mine… when traffic stopped abruptly,” says Gemal. His vehicle struck the one in front of him, forcing the dashboard backwards.
“My knee hit the dashboard and then [my leg] pushed backwards and broke out the back part of my hip.”
Gemal says he immediately tried to get out of the car but found he was unable to move. When paramedics arrived they rushed him to the nearby trauma center where he met Dr. Quackenbush for the first time. Dr. Quackenbush worked to reduce his dislocated hip to help control the pain and determined that Gemal had an acetabular fracture and required surgery to repair the cup that the hip sits in. This would hopefully prevent future dislocations and limit post traumatic arthritis.
I thought I was going to be just a number on a page but that has not been the case,”
“Taking care of Orthopedic trauma is a team approach. No one can do it alone,” Dr. Quackenbush reminds us. “Because of the expertise and training offered by Resurgens physicians, we were able to act together quickly to get Gemal back up walking again.”
After some recovery time, Gemal was released from the hospital, although his physical therapy continues.
Just six weeks out from his surgery, Gemal feels optimistic about his recovery journey, although he admits it’s more challenging than he could have possibly imagined. As he gets better with each passing week, Gemal gets one step closer to his goal of walking without assistance so he can get back to work creating the delicious dishes he’s so passionate about. When he recovers, he’s got a lot to look forward to.
First, he’d like to start planning the wedding to his fiancé who has been so supportive of him throughout this ordeal. Second, he’d like to spend quality time with his son; even seemingly simple tasks like taking a walk or going shopping together have proven nearly impossible in Gemal’s condition. Third, Gemal would like to plan a visit to Haiti, the place where his mother was born and which has had a tremendous influence on his cooking style. While his recovery and physical therapy haven't been easy so far, Gemal knows he can overcome his obstacles, and Dr. Quackenbush and the staff at Resurgens Orthopaedics will be there to support him every step of the way.
“My experience at [Resurgens Orthopaedics] has been amazing. I did not expect Dr. Quackenbush to be such a personable and really nice guy. I did not expect the staff to care so much. I did not expect to have such an interactive and easy experience with Resurgens… I feel extremely supported. I thought I was going to be just a number on a page but that has not been the case,” says Gemal.
Dr. Quackenbush agrees saying, “We want to ultimately get Gemal back to the kitchen where his true passion exists. Seeing someone go from their darkest hour back to their livelihood makes it all worth it.”
We’re so proud to be a part of success stories like Gemal’s every day. As he continues along the path to a full recovery, we’ll be there to help pick him up when he stumbles and to provide that support he needs to achieve his many goals. We know you can do it Gemal, and we know you’ll be back in the kitchen serving up incredible meals in no time. Bon Appétit!