Barely old enough to drink legally, Henderson was clearing $35,000 per week as one of the most successful cocaine dealers in San Diego. But when he was 23, he was indicted on federal drug trafficking charges and sentenced to almost 20 years. Hardheaded, Henderson held firmly to his gritty street morals, until the day he was assigned to wash dishes in the prison kitchen. He immediately took an interest in food preparation and eventually determined that when he was released, he would become a chef, no matter what.
An extraordinary tale of crime, punishment, and redemption, Cooked is a glorious testament to the power of the human spirit when faced with seemingly impossible odds.
©2007 Jeff Henderson; (P)2007 Recorded Books LLC
"Cooked is alive with the visceral energy of street life, the sober reality of prison, and the drama and intensity of working in top restaurant kitchens. With extraordinary poise and clever insight, Jeff relates the astounding obstacles he overcame to be recognized as one of the best young chefs in America." (BlackNews.com)
This book is raw, if you do not like curse words then this book is not for you. You feel that Jeff is speaking from the heart and nothing but the truth. This is a story that needs to be told.
I love cooking, and been to jail, so this book looked really cool to me. Unfortunately it's narrated by the author, who apparently feels he needs to speak gansta. 8 hours of a thug speak is just too much too handle. Props for getting out of jail and making it, but its a shame the his English didn't improve with his cooking.
This guy's book would maybe make a better read then listen. If your looking for something like Bourdain, this isn't it. Bourdain can talk shite, but still sound pleasing to the ear. This guy cant. I feel i wasted my money on this one.
The best thing about this book may be Jeff's pronunciation of french dishes and cooking terms. His reading is a bit hard, uneven and "street" but I don't think the material would have worked so well without it.
Admittedly I skipped over some of the earlier stuff like his early childhood, but listened to every word once he got to prison and beyond.
I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because it is slow in spots, mostly in the beginning.
In the last third of the book, when he becomes the head chef at the Bel Air hotel (before Bellagio) you can't believe how much this guy has gone through and how hard he has worked to get there.
I'm tend to go for the "chick-flick" books like "Eat Pray Love" (the ultimate) but this coming of age tale has much of the same feel, even if it is about a man from LA's ghetto.
Bottom line: recommended
I just loved Mr. Henderson's climb from the streets to the stove. His tenacity and proceed till apprehended attitude is awesome. This proves with goals and drive someone's life can be turned around. I think having a mentor and support from one's family & friends can help as well. Maybe one day I will have a meal prepared by Mr. Henderson.
Listening to the author tell his life story was like having him tell you in person. I was captivated listening to it not wanting to turn it off. I love success stories and how driven he was to learn and turn his life around.I liked the cooking stories.An excellent book.
It was suggested that I read this book upon starting an Offender Workforce Development Specialist training course offered by the US Probation Dept. Chef Jeff's story has inspired me to complete the course with the confidence that I can make a difference in planning careers with ex--offenders!
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