Have you watched the Food Network? Maybe you have tuned in to YouTube or possibly late one night you caught the story of Jeff Henderson on television. Henderson is now better known as Chef Jeff instead of his street moniker “Hard Head.”
On Oct. 28, at the Doubletree Hotel, One Bigelow Square, more than 150 gathered for Amachi: A Recipe for Discovery.
|EXECUTING THE RECIPE—Chef Jeff creates Crispy Crab Cakes with Amachi Pittsburgh mentees. (Photos by Debbie Norrell)
Amachi Pittsburgh is an organization dedicated to helping children in Allegheny County with incarcerated parents. Since 2003, Amachi Pittsburgh has been dedicated to helping Allegheny County’s children fulfill their God-given purpose. Through a unique partnership of secular and faith-based organizations, Amachi works to mentor young minds, ensuring that all children are rightfully recognized as children of promise.
Henderson was the perfect match for Amachi Pittsburgh’s signature event. Chef Jeff Henderson grew up in the streets of South Central, Los Angeles and ran a $35,000 per week cocaine operation by the time he was 19 years of age. He was arrested at 24 and spent 10 years in prison, where he developed a passion for cooking food instead of crack. Henderson made the commitment to turn his life around and upon his release he worked his way through the culinary world from dishwasher to executive chef at Café Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Amachi Pittsburgh guests were privileged to sample Chef Jeff’s Crispy Crab Cakes during the reception and also witness him at work with three Amachi Pittsburgh mentees. Anna Hollis, executive director of Amachi Pittsburgh says, “We were thrilled to feature Chef Jeff at Recipe for Discovery. Chef Jeff’s journey of hope and redemption aligns with the mission of Amachi Pittsburgh and was a source of inspiration to all that were involved.”
Henderson’s life story will be translated in to a major motion picture by Columbia Pictures, Overbrook Entertainment and Escape Artist, the team that produced the film “The Pursuit of Happyness.” After dinner guests lined up for Chef Jeff to sign his book “Cooked.” He also is the author of the cook book “Chef Jeff Cooks.” While Chef Jeff was in Pittsburgh he paid a visit to the Allegheny County Jail to speak to the prisoners and left books with the education department. He told prisoners “the key is to learn from your mistakes, we’re here because we did the crime.”
Evan and Holly Frazier and John and Milonica Stahl-Wert served as event chairs.