From Convict to Celeb Chef

Meet Chef Jeff Henderson. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

If you haven’t heard Chef Jeff Henderson’s story, you should.

Meet this fascinating chef at a free event in Oakland, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18, when he talks about how he turned his life around from that of a convicted drug dealer to the first African-American chef de cuisine at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

He’s also been featured on the Food Network in the show, “The Chef Jeff Project.” After 10 years in prison, Henderson chronicled his tale in “Cooked,” which is being turned into a motion picture.

I heard Henderson speak at a food conference a few years ago, and found him thoroughly mesmerizing.

He’ll be appearing at the East Oakland Youth Development Center, 8200 International Blvd., and talking about the power of making positive life choices. He’ll also conduct a mini cooking demo with the students in the center’s cooking program.

Henderson is visiting the Bay Area on behalf of the “Power to End Stroke,” an initiative of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death nationally. African-Americans face twice the risk of a first stroke as white Americans. A healthy diet and regular exercise are effective ways to reduce the risk of suffering a stroke.

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