Reginald F. Lewis was born on December 7, 1942 in an East Baltimore neighborhood he once described as “semi-tough.” Lewis was strongly influenced by his family. His parents, grandparents. uncles, and aunts always encouraged Lewis to “be the best that you can be.” Reginald’s grandmother would teach him the importance of saving, even cutting and peeling strips from the bottom of a tin can and nailing it to the floor of a closet to protect his savings. At the age of ten, Lewis set up a delivery route to sell the Afro American newspaper. After building the business from ten customers to more than a hundred in two years, he sold the route at a profit. Lewis’ grandfather was headwaiter and maitre d’ at a private country club. It was while working there as a teenager that Lewis says his grandfather advised him. - “Know your job and do it well.” He also told Reginald stories about Paris during World War I, cultivating in him a lifelong love of French Language, food, and culture.