Monday, January 12, 2009
"The Chef Jeff Project" Is A Reality Show At It's Best.
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I have no idea what the ratings were for "The Chef Jeff Project" when it originally aired on the food network. The only thing I am sure of is that it captured the attention of someone who normally stays way clear of reality shows.
I am not a big fan of reality shows. I was intrigued by the first season of "Survivor", I'll admit, but since then, as networks have thrown one gimmick after another at us, I have steered clear of them. They just don't interest me.
First, a disclosure. I know Jeff Henderson, the star of "The Chef Jeff Project". Jeff was the executive chef for a few years at CAFE BELLAGIO at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. My day job is in the Cafe where I have worked since it opened in 1998. Jeff was a great chef and a wonderful human being.
It didn't matter that his past was shaded by a world of drug dealing and imprisonment. He had completely turned his life around, and while working at Bellagio authored a bestselling book called "Cooked", which was his autobiography. So successful was the book, that he soon made appearances on "Oprah", "Montel Williams" and many other shows as his popularity increased.
Backed by a well known celebrity, Chef Jeff went on to open a catering business in L.A. called Posh Urban Cuisine. With a movie deal in the works for his life story (it is currently in development) Jeff was naturally tagged to host his own show on the Food Network, and thus "The Chef Jeff Project" was born. In the show, Jeff takes young adults off the streets and teaches them how to cook and operate a catering business. What is different about this show is that his students aren't slowly whittled away week to week. You get to know about each one week after week. If they complete the program, every one of them are given a scholarship to the Culinary Institute.
This is the very first episode of "The Chef Jeff Project" which premiered on The Food Network in October of 2008.
Jeff came to Bellagio this past week and he informed me that they were beginning work on a second season of the show. I guess the ratings were pretty good.
This video is the second episode of season one. Watch it and see if you don't get hooked on the show as well.
Although released a couple of years ago you can still find copies of "Cooked" at Amazon.com as well as his cookbook:
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