By twenty-one, Jeff Henderson was making up to $35,000 a week cooking and selling crack cocaine. By twenty-four, he had been sentenced to nineteen and a half years in prison on federal drug trafficking charges. It was an all-too-familiar story for a young man raised on the streets of South Central LA. But what happened next wasn't.
Once inside prison, Jeff Henderson worked his way up from dishwasher to chief prison cook, and when he was released in 1996, he had found his passion and his dream—he would become a professional chef. Barely five years out of federal prison, he was on his way to becoming an executive chef, as well as being a sought-after public speaker on human potential and a dedicated mentor to at-risk youth. A window into the streets and the fast-paced kitchens of world-renowned restaurants, Cooked is a very human story with a powerful message of commitment, redemption, and change.
How one of San Diego's most successful cocaine dealers became an award-winning chef-the current executive chef at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas-is the question that drives this sporadically inspired memoir. Henderson got his start dealing when his family moved to San Diego and he fell in with two street thugs. At age 25, after amassing a small fortune in drug money, Henderson was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 19 years in prison; once there, he discovered a love for cooking that gave him much-needed direction. After serving nine years, Henderson got an early release and began a series of grueling, occasionally demeaning jobs in kitchens, eventually working his way up to leading roles in Caesars Palace Hotel and elsewhere. Unfortunately, Henderson's story rings truest before he turns to the culinary; the fascinating level of detail in his description of the drug trade dissipates when it comes to the intricacies of working in and running a kitchen, lending his redemption a hollow feel. In addition, Henderson's casual reference to methods and equipment particular to the industry may leave amateur foodies nonplussed. While Henderson's achievements deserve recognition, this rushed retelling makes it difficult to fully appreciate his hard work.
From start to finish, this book tugged at my heart!!!! Chef Jeff is a true inspiration! A MUST READ!!!
A Must Reed!
This is one of those books you're going to regret not having bought it earlier; It's that good! The life story of this man it's truly amazing. He takes you on a journey were you can feel and image every single aspect of it. Because if you talk about "determination" and you haven't read this book, you do not know what the word means; Trust me!
It was nice well thought and a must read book it's also sad and funny in some ways