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Distinguished Chef Series
Chef Jeff will be in Human Sciences September 26th and 27th.
Chef Jeff Henderson
California native Jeff Henderson, known as Chef Jeff, is the first African- American
executive chef at the Bellagio, a well-known television personality, a sought-after
speaker and a New York Times best-selling author.
Jeff started his culinary career in the most unlikely place, prison. When he was released in 1996, he started working for Chef Robert Gadsby as a dishwasher. After a year under Gadsby’s tutelage, Jeff began to make his way through the world of fine-dining including stints as sous chef at the Coronado Island Marriott, and Chef Tournant and Banquet Chef at L.A.’s Hotel Bel-Air.
Jeff was eventually hired at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and became the first African-American Chef de Cuisine to run restaurants at the hotel. In 2001, the American Tasting Institute named Jeff Las Vegas Chef of the Year. He took advantage of his exposure and started a catering company in Los Angeles called Posh Urban Cuisine. A year later he returned to Las Vegas where he worked as an executive chef at the Bellagio.
In 2007, Harper Collins published Jeff’s memoir Cooked, which landed him on Oprah. At the end of his book tour, he left his post at the Bellagio to do private chef work, consulting, and public speaking. The same year, he launched a new reality show on Food Network, The Chef Jeff Project, which followed Jeff as he brought a group of disadvantaged young adults to work for his private dining company to teach them cooking and life skills.
In 2009, Jeff published his first cookbook, Chef Jeff Cooks. In 2011, he released his second cookbook America I Am: Pass It Down Cookbook, a collection of recipes that have been passed down to preserve African Americans’ food legacy. In 2012, Jeff’s first cooking show Beat The Chefs premiered, and he released his first self-help book If You Can See It, You Can Be It. He is currently the host of Flip My Food with Chef Jeff and Family Style with Chef Jeff which airs on the Z Living Network.
Jeff resides in Las Vegas with his wife Stacy and their five children.