What’s Up South Texas!: Former drug addict, alcoholic chef serves needy through signature food

'Not only did I stop drugs, I was able to get all five of my children back...'

San Antonio – A San Antonio chef is using his passion for food to serve the needy in our community. This call to action was motivated by his own experience of being a former drug addict, alcoholic and nearly homeless.

Starting off as a young man, life for John Meyer, owner of Best Little Food House in Texas, seemed great.

“I started about 37 years ago as a dishwasher and worked my way up,” Meyer said. “I worked for big chains, Hyatts, Plaza Americas and more. I spent most of my career in Dallas but I traveled the world. I used to work for Jerry Jones for 18 years at the old and new Cowboys stadium. I got to meet George Strait, did three Olympics and all the different things as a chef.”

Meyer was young and became a popular celebrity chef.

“I kind of lost myself before I moved here, which was about eight years ago,” Meyer said. “I moved here because I was in a bad way. Like with most chefs, this happens. There was a lot of success being able to travel all around the world, but there was a lot of pressure.”

Meyer said that pressure resulted in the use of drugs and alcohol.

“I was on a three-year binge on drugs just to keep me up because I would wake up at 5 in the morning, and work until 2 in the morning and would do that seven days a week,” Meyer said.

His addiction almost made him homeless.

“I was successful at an easy age,” Meyer said. “I was 20-something years old and I tasted success very early on. The evil side of that was getting wrapped up and caught up with the drugs and alcohol.”

Eight years ago, Meyer said he packed up and moved from Dallas.

“I stole my drug dealer’s car because he stole my catering van I had,” Meyer said through laughter. “I moved to San Antonio with a backpack and started over. I was that close to being homes but the first place I hit was Haven For Hope. At that time I didn’t have anything. “I spent all my money on drugs. I had a lot of money. I had a three-story house. I had nice cars. I spent all my money on drugs. I lost everything. My family was fed up. They were done. As a drug abuser that’s what happens. They were done.”

He said the only way he could change was letting God into his heart.

“Not only did I stop drugs, I was able to get all five of my children back and on top of that, I have been raising them for eight years now,” Meyer said.

His past motivates his present and future with helping others. He started his own food truck service called the Best Little Food House in Texas where he cooks his signature gourmet meals for those in need.

“A lot of what we do is go to HOAs to feed people,” Meyer said. “We put our own spin on the food of course. I am all about serving back home like Somerset. We donate every week whether it is food, money for the needy or elderly, for the truck drivers, emergency responders and school teachers.”

Meyer has not let the Covid-19 pandemic stop him from his journey of serving others either.

“As a chef, I think, ‘How can I contribute?’ Easy. Feed the homeless and the needy because I know where I come from. Truck drivers had nowhere to go when Covid hit. The elderly were going out for groceries putting their lives in danger and we knew they shouldn’t be taking those risks. We went out and got care packages and made food for them and fed them so they didn’t have to go to the store. School teachers were still going to work and preparing and grading all these assignments for the children. We went out and returned the favor to them and fed them. We are not going to stop. We are going to continue.”

Meyer said he is thankful God gave him another chance.

“I gave it all to God,” Meyer said. “Most people who are non-believers do not understand what that means. I was a non-believer and I was like, ‘What are you talking about? Give it to God?’ I didn’t know what that meant. When you start walking the walk and talking the talk, you will see it happen. You just have to have that leap of faith.”

Meyer said his mission is to continue to spread love and give to those in need.

“With all that is going on with the protests and everything, I understand. I am a firm believer in protests in America but there are better ways to doing this. MLK Jr. was the perfect example of how you do it. I teach that to my kids and to my coworkers. No, we are not going to be violent. We live in a new world and it starts with love. That is what I mean when I say give it to God. Day by day, I take a leap of faith and every time you think he is done, he is not. He overwhelms you with more of his love,” Meyer said.

He said he will use his God-fearing faith to spread love through his cooking as long as he is alive.

“My kids can tell you eight years ago they didn’t know who I was,” Meyer said. “If you ask them that same question today, they would be like, ‘I know who my father is. He is a man of God.’ I couldn’t get a better compliment.”

If you know someone like Meyer who is making a difference in the South Texas community or who has a unique story, send us your tips. Contact Japhanie Gray on Facebook or @JGrayKSAT on Twitter. You can also send your tips to KSAT 12 & KSAT.com on Facebook.

Read also:

What’s Up South Texas!: Man overcomes anxiety, becomes local comedian

What’s Up South Texas!: Man with troubled past paints to inspire others

About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.