Breaking the cycle: One remarkable man beats the odds - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Breaking the cycle: One remarkable man beats the odds

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Growing up in a single parent household on the wrong side of the tracks is often a recipe for disaster. But it is possible to break the cycle of poverty and crime. Just ask Chef Jeff Henderson.

"I grew up in a troubled neighborhood with a lot of drugs and violence and gangs," recalled Henderson. "From a young kid up to my teens, I made a lot of poor choices and got caught up with some of the wrong people."

But a mentor who was willing to give him a chance altered the path of his life. He developed and nurtured a love for cooking that quickly turned into a career goal of becoming a chef.

Henderson went on to become the first African American executive chef at renowned casino restaurants, including Cafe Bellagio and Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Since then he has appeared on Oprah's television show, written a New York Times Best Seller, and launched a TV series on the Food Network.

Chef Jeff is doing his best to make a difference in the lives of kids headed down the same path he traversed.

"Today when I'm not hosting Flip My Food...I'm working with troubled kids," said Chef Jeff. "I go into prisons and work with young men and young women, I work in juvenile facilities, I work with educators across the country."

You might never guess that the successful chef has had his share of tough breaks. But he never gave up. Instead, he broke the cycle.

"I'm that inspirational piece to the have-nots," he said. "A lot of people know the Chef Jeff glory, but they don't know the story."

And now we do.

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