Monday, November 17, 2008

THE FINALE

I just wanted to thank everyone who supported the “Chef Jeff Project” from day one and the ones who came on board during the season. It was a life changing experience cooking, teaching and running a business at the same time. I gave my heart and my life for 28 days to impact the crew and those who watched. The most rewarding part of the experience was watching the crew grow.

I still believe that Adam has the potential to become a great Chef, but only if he can overcome the fear of success and the street life. I’ve been there, it’s hard to shake the streets, but if you don’t, the streets will take you down. As for the rest of the crew, they have the tools and information to make it in life. They have to keep grinding and never stop believing in the American dream. I wish them well and those who shared the experience in their living rooms, schools, and prisons. Life is what you make it. If you want that house on the hill with the white picket fence, you must change, build a personal brand and focus on the dream, destroying the dream crushers with your success.
Food Network: Thanks for allowing me to live my dream through the “Chef Jeff Project.” Who could ever imagine a guy with a story like mine would come so far and accomplish so much. All of you at the Network and production company helped me make a difference many people’s lives.

What’s next for me? I’m working on a self-help book that will focus on the Chef Jeff model for change and opening a restaurant. During the first week of December I’m going on a small tour in the south with Smithfield Foods. I’ll be giving away food to the needy and speaking to young people at high schools and colleges. When I return, I’ll be spending time with my family to rest, vibe with my little ones and focus on 2009. I will continue to blog throughout the week, more food, recipes and kitchen conversation coming. I will give all of you an update on a possible second season, the crew and my inspirational thoughts.

As Always, Bon Appetit

36 comments:

Cathy Davis said...

The finale was great! (But, I must confess that I want to kick Adam! Get back to the kitchen ADAMMMMMMMM!!!)

I didn't realize that each member of the team was going to get a scholarship! That is totally amazing and so generous. I loved the interaction between the members and the chefs. They have all worked so hard.

I'm looking forward to more of you!

Thank you Food Network for a great show and thank you Chef Jeff for the great idea :-)!

Carmen O. said...

I really enjoyed The Chef Jeff Project! I loved seeing them all get chosen for a scholarship at the end. I was sad for Shante when her mother was not there. I also was disappointed to see that Adam did not take the job and is not going to school. I do understand though, I'm one to doubt my abilities too often. Hopefully he'll still come around. Thanks for all you do and for inspiring so many!

Denise said...

Chef Jeff you are truly awe inspiring! I'm sad that the project has come to an end,I guess I'll have to watch ON DEMAND until the second season (hopefully). I have recently purchased your autobiography and this will have to do until we see your life story on the big screen( I belive this),you are the American Dream. Continued success and Best Wishes.

Denise
San Diego,Ca

Gayle said...

My husband and I watched each episode of the Chef Jeff Project and were totally captivated! Watching the young adults struggling to overcome their various hardships and negative back-stories to take advantage of the opportunity offered them by Chef Jeff was heart warming. I truly wish each of them the very best futures. And a very big thank you goes to Chef Jeff for his generosity with these "at risk" young adults and others who he has inspired to make better choices and take personal responsibility in their lives!

Concern said...

I am concern about Adam. Will you be doing anything to help him keep focus? I would hate to see him go back on the streets.

Vanessa said...

Chef Jeff,

I just wanted to say what an inspiration watching you work with these young adults. I watched the show when it first aired and was blown away on how you changed their lives in that small amount of time. I was really moved by all of their stories and the hope you gave to them by having them work with you in the kitchen. God bless you for all the work that you do. I wish you much success in your future endeavors.

Vanessa LaBranche

Sandi said...

Chef Jeff, I loved watching your show. I was curious to know where you are coming in the south on your tour the first week of December. I live in Savannah and would love to meet you.

Maya said...

I cant beleive what a difference you have made in these kids life...I have a story for you that started out terrible but didnt turn out so bad. If you have time to hear it, I would be happy to tell you one day...Dont ever stop changing peoples lives ......

Maya
momemaya@att.net

Maya said...

I cant beleive what a difference you have made in these kids life...I have a story for you that started out terrible but didnt turn out so bad. If you have time to hear it, I would be happy to tell you one day...Dont ever stop changing peoples lives ......

Maya
momemaya@att.net

Maya said...

I cant beleive what a difference you have made in these kids life...I have a story for you that started out terrible but didnt turn out so bad. If you have time to hear it, I would be happy to tell you one day...Dont ever stop changing peoples lives ......

Maya
momemaya@att.net

Domonic said...

Chef Jeff! I've got to say, I was inspired by your show. In fact, it has been my dream to do what you have done, helping troubled kids achieve success through cooking - only, my dream is to use visual communications - design, art, photography, video, etc.

I started my own company nine months ago, and I have plans to create a type of internship similar to what you did on your show. For now, I'm speaking in juvenile detention centers and high-schools and junior high schools.

I too had a troubled past and have been blessed with a second chance. Seeing you just makes me want to work that much harder to reach my goal of helping young kids through the gift God has given me in the arts. Just wanted to say a great big THANK YOU and may GOD BLESS everything you do!

mcpp21 said...

Chef Jeff,

My wife and two daughters (12 and 9 yrs old) really enjoyed the Chef Jeff Project. It was real, it was uplifting and it was emotional. I especially enjoyed the way the crew eventually came together and learned to work as a team. Your support and belief in their abilities and the way you treated them with a firm fairness was right on the mark. The only disappointment was that Adam chose not to go to school and didn't take up Robert Gadsby on his once in a lifetime job offer in Houston. I hope he gets himself straight and reconsiders. In the mean time we are looking forward to a 2nd season of the Chef Jeff Project. Keep up the great work!

Christina said...

I had heard about this show, a while back and knew it was something, I would be interested in watching.

Oh goodness, there were times that I just broke down and cried during the shows. So close to home for me. : )

I can remember a chef screaming at me on the line about how life just wasn't going to come to me.
How what I wanted, wasn't just going to show up on my door step. I don't know if I heard everything this wonderful man said to me on a daily basis, but I am proud to say many of his words stuck with me, throughout my cooking journey. I was grateful for chef.

Even today, now that I am older I still remember the chefs, who influenced me the most.

I am grateful.

I know that what you are doing for these young people, is amazing and oh so worth it.

: ) You are an inspiration!

I SO have to get your book : )

ernesto said...

Thank you Chef Jeff, kitchen crew, and Food Network for creating a worthwhile viewer experience. After watching the CJP series, I see how for me it ended up being so much more than just a show. I won't lie and say that I wasn't entertained. I did enjoy the conflict/resolution "drama".

Nevertheless, for me it was more than just "good tv"; at its core, it was a reminder of the potential we all have for affecting change in our own communities. We don't each need a Food Network show to plant some of the same seeds of hope that Chef Jeff planted.

I am grateful in particular for the Chef's heart-felt, honest compassion. It takes a true man to shed tears and to express so much love and emotion. More than a fancy meal, the crew was hungry for confidence-boosting mentoring and praise. Clearly, Chef Jeff delivered. I only hope that the Food Network gives him the chance to continue doing so on a long-term basis.

sleepyd said...

Hi Chef! I TiVo'd the finale and just finished watching--it was great! My boyfriend and I watched every episode. What you do is truly inspiring.

I work as a dropout prevention counselor in LA and have seen many Adams come through our schools...so much potential, yet the pull of the streets is so strong. We have to have hope that with time, his own personal journey will lead him to success. You did such a great job with him. Please tell him to call us at LAUSD (213-241-4967 or go to www.myfuturemydecision.org) if he wants to go back to school.

I wonder if the crew could start blogging also so that we could give them support? I would love to follow what they do in life, especially Alonzo since he was so hard on himself! I really want him to make it. The rest of the crew I think will be really successful...they're all so talented.

I hope the show gets renewed! You are doing great work and your words are inspiring!

LJ said...

Congratulations Chef Jeff on the Chef Jeff Project! You are a great inspiration to so many people. I applaud you and all of the great work that you are doing. I wish the best to the 6 young adults. I look forward to hearing an update on each of them soon and I also look forward to season two.

I met you at your book signing at Howard University and I was so motivated by listening to you. I have told so many people about you, your book, the cook book and the show. My book club (The Readings of the Disapora) read your book Cooked and we discussed it this past Sunday. The hostess cooked your Turkey chili from your Chef Jeff Cooks cook book and it was awesome. Also several of the book club members watched the show. I purchased your cook book (a first for me) and I have prepared several of your recipes. One of my co-workers purchased the cook book and they are planning on cooking several of the dishes next week for Thanksgiving.

I cannot wait until you open your restaurant. Continued success and best wishes! Take care. Trying to bang on the East Coast.

Sevgilim said...

Hello, Chef!!
Today, my teenager dauther and I,we were crying with yr Crew,,,Such amazing FINAL!!..Oh, my GOD!!
I am from Azerbaijan, living in Costa Rica and I love to cook!!
But what y are doing, is not only cooking or teaching to cook,,Y are teaching to believe in future ..That all words that boys and grils told y when project was done,,are totally true..Y are a light for themes lives,,From today y are our Hero,,!! GOD BLESS Y, boy!
Que Dios te cuide y te protegue!!!
Allah seni saxlasin!!

hugs,
olga and nana
P.S.
Sorry for my English, jijiji,,

Cecilia said...

My daughters and I enjoyed watching the Chef Jeff Show together. We love watching foodnetwork and we loved the Chef Jeff Show...what an inspiration! We will pray for each of the crew members, may they find success and happiness in their lives....

We look forward to a second season...and updates on the first crew....

bw1870 said...

Chef,

I just wanted to tell you how happy I was to find the Chef Jeff Project show. It was so refreshing to find something so positive and meaningful on TV. I think you've provided an amazing opportunity and given some people hope that they can succeed in this world. That's a wonderful gift to share. Keep up the great work.

Looking forward to next season,
Brian

brendon said...

Chef, loved the show, and love the impact you had on those kids and will no doubt have on others into the future even more. I work with foster youth, and share your passion for showing kids that they can be so much more than society has led them to believe. Thank you for everything you do, and I look forward to season two of your show. I also look forward to hearing about Adam's success; I think you opened Adam's eyes to where his future _can_ go if he wants, and I am hopeful that he will take advantage of that new perspective.

Tracy @ sugarbeez.com said...

Chef Jeff, yeah, this is a selfish ploy on my own behalf, but an idea for a second season...mentor along those of us that have started on the path, but not succeeded yet? I'm a convicted felon, served my time, changed my life and now I'm trying to get myself out there...a little help?

mgs4real said...

I had to DVR all your shows Chef Jeff, cause Sunday nites about that time I am just rollin' in from church :o). I had missed the first couple of shows when I finally caught on to what was going on. Fortunately I checked fancast.com and they were carrying the first two - I watched 'em, cried already, and got up to date. From that point on I didn't miss a show! Every one of your young adults impressed me, and most of all I loved the line in the finale where you said you knew that you were going to be bringing some up behind you. (Don't remember the exact words...but how great is that?)

I know you are in touch with Adam. After the finale (which I watched last night) I knew I wanted to speak/write to Adam directly. The following is for you, Adam.

"Dear Adam,
I watched you grow on the Chef Jeff Project so, I came to love you, and root for you, cheering you on in my heart for you to MAKE IT, Adam. When you got offered that job with the very mentor that mentored Chef Jeff, I was crying and laughing with you, my dear friend. I could see your bright future being laid out in front of you. Dear Adam, I pray that you touch that excitement you had that very moment, and follow through with what God has obviously planned for you. His plans for you are for good, and not for evil. "'For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' Jeremiah 29:11

Follow your dream, Adam. Your dream is His plan for you. Isn't that just awesome? That is where your hope and your future is. I wear a ring that has an inscription on it. 'Dreams Come True.' I so want to hear that yours IS!"

Your friend,
Marilyn GS
Portland Oregon

Rafael said...

Chef, I just wanted to thank you for being such a great influence on your crew and thousands of others who have had the pleasure to see you work your magic. You are truly a great human being and have inpsired me to do better for myself as well. Keep those mouths happy!

Wishing you the best,

Ralph Velez,
Artist and Professional Tattooer, NYC

StBarb said...

Thank you for The Chef Jeff Project. What a great show and a great use of your many talents. I have to say that my heart still aches for Shante. I really wanted to see her family come out to support her in the finale. Shante, if you read this, just know that there are countless people in the world, people you've never met, who believe in you. Don't ever forget that.

StBarb said...

Thanks for The Chef Jeff Project. What a great show, and a great use of your many talents. I have to say that my heart still aches for Shante. I really wanted to see her family come out to support her in the finale. Shante, if you read this, just know that there are countless people out here, people you've never met, who believe in you and want you to succeed. Don't ever forget that.

D said...

Adam, you have an opportunity not many have, keep that as your focus.

When you become successful you can help the people in your life so much more than you ever can by staying on the streets or even with family. Sometimes we have to break away to come back strong and do more good than we ever could by hanging around. You have the strength, I've witnessed it; you've been given the opportunity, use it; you have the brains,judgement and strength, you've used them on the show. Please be successful and don't this chance away, so many are supporting you.

What are your other options, death on the street, a failed marriage, growing old living with regret!!!

Make the choice for you which will aspire and help others in your success. It's not just about you, it's also about what you can do with your success as Cheff Jeff has.
Good luck and God Bless. Sit quietly, listen the answers will come.

Debi

PlantAKiss said...

Thank you to Chef Jeff and the Food Network for a show that both entertained, inspired and tugged at the heartstrings. What a great show to demonstrate the impact that mentoring can have on youth that need a little guidance and attention. I didn't miss an episode.

No matter how each of the crew choses to move forward, you have touched their lives in a meaningful way.

I wish all the best for all of the crew. I hope Adam can get it together and take the opportunity offered to him.

Happy Thanksgiving to Chef Jeff and his loved ones. I give thanks that there are people like you in the world who care about young people and understand the struggles that often impede their success in life.

I hope there are more shows like this on Food Network in the future. Inspiration is an ingredient of life that should be used liberally!

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Suzanne, Richmond, VA

tiffswheels said...

The finale was a hit!! I am disappointed about Adam not seizing the opportunity. I pray that he will come around. As for the rest of the crew they all brought tears to my eyes. It was absolutely wonderful to see the crew's transformation. Keep up the great work. Hold your heads up even when you feel its easier to just let them hang. There will always be a challenge somewhere in life. If you keep the faith and your head hight you will overcome those challenges, look back and say, "yeah I did it" Chef Jeff did!!!!! Much love to all and many blessings.

Steph said...

Chef Jeff,

I was so inspired by the Project! I've taught in public schools in Los Angeles for over 20 years and I imagined each member of your crew as one of my own former students. I was thrilled. We can all help change lives. It isn't easy but it is always worthwhile.

May God's face continue to shine on you!

Steph

Deena said...

Dear Chef Jeff,
My family and I watched every episode of your Food Network program and loved it! What you have done in the lives of the 6 young men and women that you mentored is unbelievable. My 11yr old daughter loves to cook and wants to attend culinary school once she's graduated from high school. She mimicked things from the show in our kitchen (learning to plate dishes, etc.) and is even more inspired now to become a chef. We have watched many cooking shows on the Food Network, but your program kept us tuned in every Sunday night without fail...it was the best! My 17 yr old son is challenging me everyday and I wish he could meet someone as positive as yourself to inspire him the way that you inspired Alonzo, Adam and the others. I'm praying that your show is picked up for another season. If it is...we'll be watching!

Loving the Chef Jeff Project,
The Smith Family

Eileen said...

God Bless you, Chef Jeff! Jesus must be so proud of you! To come from where you came and then not only to enjoy your success but to try to help others who were still stuck in their circumstances is a beautiful, beautiful thing! My husband and I watched all the episodes and my heart went out to all of the kids. I grew up in Hoboken and as the oldest of four children with only my Dad working two jobs, we always had enough but just that. I started working when I was 11 to help out the family so I understand what sacrifice is. You have inspired me to help others in my neighborhood. Please tell Adam that I am praying for him. He has a beautiful heart and such good instincts as a cook. I will pray that he can break away from the streets and live his dream. Again God bless you and thank you for restoring my hope!

In His Love, Eileen Koszyk

PS I will be praying for you, too.

greg b. 32 said...

Loved the show,from the streets to the stove was very inspirational.Im a cook that cant seem to get a break to become a chef and i know i got the skills. You perservered and i'm extra motivated by the way you came up in the industry.If you can,i can even with my two numbers! Cleveland,Oh

scottie said...

Whats next for the chef jeff project?

ejluv99 said...

Dear Chef

Thank you for the Chef Jeff Project. What a show!! My family and I watched it every week but we were sad that it ended so soon. We hope the next project will last longer. What an inspirational show! You are amazing for doing this for these kids. How's Adam?? We fell in love with him. He made us cry all the time. My 14 year old son wants to be a chef and he loved the show!! Please do another Chef Jeff Project soon!!! It would be great if the season lasted a bit longer.

JoeMac said...

Hi my name is Joseph McDonald Im from chicago currently live in north suburb call Zion I've been trying to change my life after my son was born but I always loved to cook after cooking dinner for my siblings at the age of 11 for my single mom who worked and went to school after battling a 10 year addiction now clean for 11 years. I want cooking to be my life and I think if I was on a show like the one you have, it would be a great push to where I want to be. Chef Jeff I hope you feel me on this, if you can help can I get some advice.

Suzie said...

I was able to watch all but the last episode of the Chef Jeff Project while I was TDY to the States. I returned to Germany before the season finale and it doesn't air on Armed Forces Network TV. What a shame. This was an absolute inspiration. I loved the fact that it wasn't a typical "get voted off the island" type of show. I also love the fact that it didn't feature "get rich quick" prizes but rather a chance to make something more of yourself. Please continue your work. Would love to see you come overseas maybe w/the USO tours. I would definitely watch the show again if it ever came to AFN. Thanks for being an inspiration to us all.