Las Vegas — There are a few must-have dishes on Chef Jeff Henderson‘s table for every holiday, and number one is Louisiana-style gumbo.
“Gumbo has always been the umbilical cord that has connected everyone in my family,” Henderson told The Root . “No matter if it was Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, there was always a pot of gumbo on the stove.”
Chef Jeff, as he’s known, has served as executive chef at the renowned Café Bellagio and Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, but he didn’t go through the typical channels to build his culinary career. He served 10 years in a federal prison for drug dealing; while incarcerated, he found a love of cooking and became committed to making a change in his life. Since then he’s been sharing that passion with others who are less fortunate, whether it’s been through his 2008 Food Network show, The Chef Jeff Project, in which he introduced a group of disadvantaged young people to the culinary arts, or his planned Chef Jeff Foundation.