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Celebrity Chef talks about his journey from the streets to the stove

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT)-He is known for his culinary skills at one of the most famed Vegas casinos, is a Food Network host and a best selling author.

What many wouldn't know about Chef Jeff Henderson is that success didn't come easy.

Chef Henderson was in Lexington Thursday dishing on how to help others find their worth.

Running a kitchen requires discipline and organization, especially when those working around you have never done it.

"Its really about the people giving them an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to cook," said Chef Jeff Henderson.

In Chef Jeff's kitchen, things can be intense, but there is always praise.

Thursday his assistants were 40 men and women going through the Lexington Hope Center's recovery program.

On the menu, Chef Jeff was cooking up inspiration.

"These are my people, I understand them. I've walked in the same shoes as they walked in. I know the potential of people who have hit rock bottom," said Henderson.

Chef Jeff hit rock bottom in 1987 when he was arrested and spent nearly a decade in prison for dealing drugs.

He credits the prison kitchen for saving his life.

"On a hum bum I got in trouble in prison, wound up in the kitchen on pot and pan detail. Where other inmates saw punishment I saw an opportunity."

That opportunity led to success years later in the culinary world.

His recipe now is about seeking out those opportunities for others, people like George Cabazos.

George ended up at the Hope Center trying to get sober after getting arrested and being a fugitive.

He has also found hope in the kitchen.

Seeing the others plate up their work is proof its possible for them too.

"It brings tears to my eyes because it definitely saved my life and has brought my family back together," said George Cabazos.

Chef Jeff calls his journey one from the streets to the stove, and its one he is happy to help others down as well.

Chef Jeff is in town to speak at the Hope Center's annual Night of Hope event at the Lexington Opera House.


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