Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chef Speaks About Life Behind Bars and Over A Stove

Chef Jeff Henderson Jeff Henderson, a chef on the Food Channel spoke to local ex-offenders and at-risk youth in Homestead on Thursday.

Eugene Ziegler was among the audience members who asked Chef Jeff Henderson for advice. Ziegler is a 52 year old Marine Veteran and trained cook. He’s also a recovering drug addict and ex-offender. He’s got post-traumatic stress disorder. And he says, low self-esteem. It’s been hard for him to find work.

Like Ziegler, Henderson is a former felon. A former drug-trafficker, he spent ten years in prison where he learned to cook. Upon release, he worked his way up to becoming an executive chef at top restaurants, got a TV show and authored a book.
Although he achieved fame as a chef, Henderson said he’s often asked to speak to ex-felons and at-risk youth about his life.

Makinma Gustave, 35, has been in and out of prison over the last eight years. The Homestead woman said she finds Henderson’s story inspiring.

Ex-offenders have a higher unemployment rate than the general public.

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