A California native, Jeff started his illustrious culinary career in the unlikeliest of places: federal prison. While serving nearly ten years, he would discover a previously untapped passion for the art of cooking. Using prison as a catalyst for self-transformation, he would be released in 1996 and work his way up from a dishwasher to a cook under the tutelage of Chef Robert Gadsby. Jeff went on to work at Coronado Island Marriott, Hotel Bel-Air, and L’Ermitage Beverly Hills. He made history as the first African-American Chef de Cuisine at Caesars Palace where he was also named Las Vegas Chef of The Year and then executive chef at the renowned Café Bellagio.
In 2007, Harper Collins published Jeff’s bestselling memoir Cooked, which lead to an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Shortly after the interview, Sony Pictures secured the rights to his inspiring tale of redemption and Jeff left his post at the helm of the prestigious Café Bellagio to embark on a journey that would lead him to television, consulting, and public speaking engagements all over the world. The same year, he also launched The Chef Jeff Project, a docu-reality series on the Food Network that followed him as he mentored a group of disadvantaged young adults towards realizing their own unique dreams.
Jeff would publish his first cookbook, Chef Jeff Cooks with Simon & Schuster in 2009 followed by America I AM Pass It Down Cookbook (Hay House/Smiley Books). In 2013 he published his first self-help book If You Can See It, You Can Be It (Hay House/Smiley Books). In 2012, Jeff’s first cooking show Beat The Chefs premiered on the Game Show Network, followed by Family Style with Chef Jeff and Flip My Food.
From incarcerated to world-renowned chef, author, television star and authoritative life strategist, Jeff’s inspiring story of life transformation has been featured on Oprah's Life Class, Good Morning America, Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, The Steve Harvey Show and in major publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, People Magazine, the Washington Post, and many others.
A truly world-class presenter, Jeff has that rare ability to electrify audiences while delivering uncommonly original and useful insights that lead to long-lasting success for individuals, businesses, and corporations alike. As a premier speaker on leadership and personal mastery, Jeff invites millions of people from all walks of life to believe that if they can see it, they can be it.
Jeff travels the world teaching his life-changing lessons and working with at-risk young people through his non-profit The Chef Jeff Project. He resides in Las Vegas with his wife Stacy and their five children.
- Disrupting Workplace Bias
Jeff Henderson was once the poster child for explicit and unconscious bias. Following his release from federal prison over two decades ago, few people would give him a chance to prove his redemption. Having honed a talent for the culinary arts behind prison walls, Henderson was eager to show his transformation to the world; however, the doors of rejection slammed hard. Luckily, a few bold and visionary corporate leaders stepped up to give him a shot at his dream. He became the first African American chef at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, followed by stints at Hard Rock Hotel and the world-renowned Bellagio Resort and Casino. Jeff Henderson has been moving forward ever since.
Celebrity Chef Jeff, as he is called today, is using his experiences to demonstrate how unchecked bias can impact a company’s bottom line. He also shares that, with conscious effort, checked bias can change the trajectory of a human life. He is a living witness to this fact. Today Chef Jeff is the best-selling author of “Cooked,” and he is the former star of the Food Network’s “The Chef Jeff Project.” His books and the television shows are platforms for him to share his inspirational journey of personal and professional transformation, while also offering unique insights about the importance of eradicating bias in workplaces.
Chef Jeff’s noteworthy observations are culled from real-life experiences. His advocacy for marginalized segments of the population is born from lessons learned during his trek through life. Using powerful oratory and captivating lessons, Chef Jeff inspires audiences to feel, believe, and act.
- From the Streets to the Stove: A LIVE Talk and Cook Performance
Inspiration meets entertainment. In this presentation, Jeff delivers a powerful keynote while performing an entertaining speed cooking performance. This presentation is interactive, and motivates your group to take positive action to improve their personal and professional life.
- If You See It, You Can Be It
In this presentation Jeff shares two decades of life lessons that he gained on his redemptive journey from drug dealer to TV celebrity chef to internationally acclaimed speaker. With his 12 inspiring and pragmatic street-smart recipes for success, audiences will discover their hidden business aptitudes, make life-changing decisions, and secure personal and professional success.