Twelve years. That’s how long California native Doug Miller spent bouncing from home to home, kitchen to kitchen and school to school in the foster care system. Despite growing up in unfamiliar houses with a rotation of cooks in the kitchen, Miller always looked forward to — and appreciated — a home-cooked meal.
Miller, in fact, referred to his foster moms as “chefs” and learned a lot about food (and what not to do with it) through the meals he was served. He might not have had the coolest clothes or the newest kicks, but he was fed. And that was how he received love.
After eventually leaving the system and finding a successful career in sales, he retired at 45 and decided, along with his girlfriend, Amy Eldridge, to enjoy the fruits of his labor in Orlando Florida. But around a year and a half into retirement, Miller realized he had a little more work to do. And that included an overwhelming pull to give back to the community and support kids in the system.
Because food held such a special place in his heart, he decided to open up a restaurant that showcased some of the recipes he was served growing up as well as provided jobs for kids who have been, or currently are, in the foster care system. In 2018, FK (which stands for Foster Kid) Your Diet was born. He knew the name needed to be fun and representative of his overall mission, which is to provide his guests with the kind of meals that made him feel loved and worthy.
He also made it a point to make his restaurants colorful and fun as a way to spread happiness and grab attention from people passing by. The cherry on top? Five percent of the restaurant’s revenue is donated to foster kids.
He had such success with FK Your Diet that in January 2020 he opened another spot in Cape Coral and has one in the works for Panama City.
COVID-19, needless to say, has caused a setback. Miller told the Florida Foodie podcast that the pandemic has been a “baseball bat to the face” in terms of navigating this unforeseen circumstance. Nonetheless, he’s found a way to make the most of the situation and has hired people who have been directly affected by the pandemic. Since the beginning of the outbreak, he’s also donated more than 12,000 meals out of his own pocket to those in need. His plan is to open new locations in areas that need extra support, which is why Panama City, which was affected by a hurricane and has a highly saturated foster care community, is next on his list.
Miller claims FK Your Diet, with its generous portions and high quality ingredients (hand selected by Miller himself), is the best value in town. It also, thanks to its menu rich with Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, French Toast and Eggs Benny, provides comfort both in terms of comfort food and in spirit.