Chef Jeff Cooks: In the Kitchen with America’s Inspirational New Culinary Star

Chef Jeff Cooks: In the Kitchen with America's Inspirational New Culinary Star

Chef Jeff Cooks: In the Kitchen with America's Inspirational New Culinary Star Rating:
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Product Description

The author of the New York Times bestselling Cooked, award-winning chef, and star of his own Food Network docu-reality show dishes up his first cookbook, Chef Jeff Cooks.

Jeff Henderson's story is familiar: Raised in South Central Los Angeles, he became a successful drug dealer. He made a lot of money. He got caught.

But what happened next wasn't the same old story: Jeff changed. He found a passion in prison kitchens and taught himself to cook. Once released, he talked his way into a series of professional kitchens -- almost always having to prove himself by starting as a dishwasher or line cook. His talent was obvious; his work ethic even more so. After rising to the top of the kitchen in some of Los Angeles's best restaurants, he became the first African American Chef de Cuisine in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace and then executive chef at Café Bellagio in the prestigious Bellagio Resort.

Now Jeff shows theworld his food and it is delicious. What inspires him? Foods he ate as a child -- Half-pound "Back-in-the-Day" Chili Cheeseburger, Turkey Smoked Collard Greens, Friendly Fried Chicken, Macaroni and Smoked Cheddar Cheese, Cakelike Cornbread with Maple Butter, and Chocolate S'more Bread Pudding -- are here as well as the more elegant, celebratory cuisine he developed as a chef -- Sweet Potato Soup, Barbecued Shrimp Scampi, and slow-cookedMolasses Braised Beef Short Ribs. Cooks will also find lots of great recipes for the grill and plenty of party foods, satisfying salads, quick breads, sides, soups, sweet endings, and more.

Featuring over 150 recipes, stunning full-color photographs, tips and techniques, as well as personal outtakes and anecdotes from Chef Jeff's life on the streets, the prison kitchen, and hiswork as a chef andmotivational speaker, this is much more than a cookbook -- it is a larger-than-life American success story and the recipe for how Chef Jeff fulfilled his dream.


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  1. Anna L. Martin says


    This book has easy to make recipes. Most ingredients listed are ones I already have. I have made the BBQ sauce which was delicious but just a tad to sweet. I also made the crabcakes which were very good and the cornbread which was also very tasty. I would recommend this book to the amateur cook as well as the advanced cook.

  2. Pamela J. Chesson says


    Jeff Henderson is such an inspiration to so many. I bought this book for my son who has made a couple of mistakes in his life as well, but has went to school to study culinary arts. I pray that he will be able to get even a small portion of the satisfaction Mr. Henderson has gotten from his career in cooking great food. I hope we get to meet him one day since we live in Hampton Roads, and he has a family member here!!

  3. Rating

    I’m not an advance cook, so I think this book is really good for someone starting to cook. The recipes do not have a lot of hard to find ingredients plus they taste great. I’ve already made the molasses BBQ sauce, turkey loaf and the sweet potato cheesecake; which got rave reviews on Thanksgiving.

    The only thing I didn’t like about the book is that it doesn’t have more photos but as long as the food taste good I can live with it. I got this book from the public library and will buy a copy for myself.

  4. Virginia T. Bemis says


    This book has fine recipes, and also proves a point from my experience as a chaplain in a close/max security men’s prison. A key thing in rehablitation for a criminal is for him to_want_ something so much that he’ll put his effort toward that, struggle toward that, and ignore the messages from everyone who tries to pull him back into the old life. Props to you, Chef Jeff.

  5. Rating

    So far I have made two of the dessert recipes from this book (chocolate smores bread pudding and banana pudding). Both were excellent. The dishes are simple with easy to find ingredients and tasted great.

    The only thing that I would like to have more of is pictures of the dishes. It was the pictures of the crab gumbo (which is next on my list of things to make) and the smores bread pudding that persuaded me to buy the book.

  6. Rating

    I like to get to the point. Chef Jeff does that with this cookbook and adds some easy reading personal touches too. Recipes are great.

  7. Rating

    This book is truly inspirational. I enjoyed reading his life story and seeing how far he came.

  8. Rating

    I read this book many years ago and recently sent a copy to my mother to read. This book is a gritty, realistic and hard-hitting true story of the life of young black man absorbed in culture of the streets and selling drugs who eventually gets caught, goes to jail for his crimes and finds his passion in life…food. The story, in my opinion, begins when Jeff Henderson goes to prison and realizes that his previous lifestyle of living the street-life and selling drugs will not define who is and what he will become as a person, as a man, as a black man, and as a contributing member of society.

    This is wonderful and inspiring story and if you like autobiographies, stories of redemption, stories of the pursuit of one’s life’s passion or just a good read, I would highly recommend this book for your pleasure.

  9. Tania Mitchell says


    It’s a great cook book. I love the pictures of the food. It makes you ready to go in the kitchen and cook. He is the BEST cook and Brother. Got to have in your collection of books.