From Prisoner to Culinary Pioneer
There’s nothing stronger than the will to persevere. Just ask Jeff Henderson, a former drug dealer and convicted felon who went on to become an award-winning chef, renowned public speaker, bestselling author and reality television star. In this interview, “Chef Jeff” talks about his transformative journey, overcoming life’s obstacles and the importance of pursuing your passions at all costs.
You spent your teenage years dealing drugs on the streets of California, USA, only to find yourself in prison for nearly a de- cade. What did those 10 years of incarceration teach you?
JH: Prison, or what I like to call ‘Federal University,’ was where I discovered my full potential. I was born again, and discovered new ways to apply myself. When I was dealing crack cocaine on the streets, I learned a lot about managing, delegating and marketing your product … but it was in the wrong environment. Prison opened my eyes to a bigger world and taught me how to harness my skills in a more constructive and positive way. In those 10 years, I built relationships with people outside of my culture: former judges, Wall Street brokers, CEOs and presidents of businesses. By tapping into their experiences, I was given a global view on life and business, and I turned that into a vision.