Sunday, November 2, 2008

THE "PROJECT" IS BIGGER THAN US...

Tonight on the Food Network, episode 4 of the “Chef Jeff Project” is airing. Shante will be faced with some tough decisions in her personal life as she moves forward to try and make a difference in her life.

The purpose of the “Chef Jeff Project” is not to just impact the lives of the crew members on the show but to impact lives all over the country. The show is important to everyone who has experienced personal and professional adversity. Though “the project” is my namesake, it’s not about me, its truly about inspiration and hope for anyone who needs a hand up in life. This show must continue on for many seasons and for many reasons.

The idea for a show like this came to me many years ago. I understood the power of food and second chances. I had first hand experience in both. When the opportunity came for my vision to be brought into living rooms, schools and prisons all over the country, I knew it would be amazing. To all the fans and supporters of the “The Chef Jeff Project” you must understand the importance of the business side of this groundbreaking docu-reality series. In television, a lot is riding on the ratings. I am asking you and your friends/family to rally behind me and the show in an effort to keep it on air. Copy and paste this blog and e-mail it across America. We must all ban together and build up ratings for this show.

On Sunday's we go all out for dinner in my house, tonight I am cooking gumbo, that’s right, at the request of my littler sister “Sugar”. It’s her favorite. We’ll eat some tonight and save the rest for Tuesday night as my family and friends gather to watch the results of, what I believe to be, the most anticipated presidential election in U.S. history. I’ve already cast my vote, make sure you exercise your right to vote this Tuesday.

In my new cookbook “Chef Jeff Cooks” there is a family tale about Gumbo and how it was my Granddaddy’s signature dish. If you haven’t purchased my cook book, now is the time to run out and get it….when you do, consider also baking some of my black pepper biscuits.

As Always, Bon Appétit

-Chef Jeff

24 comments:

Cathy Davis said...

I watched last Sunday's show last night. I've been very impressed with the time you are taking with the kids (they may be adults, but I'm probably old enough to be their mom, so you know, kids) to teach them about all aspects of life -- not just how to cook some amazing food, but also how to be a better person and how to showcase yourself and get along with other people.

I would like to know what happened after you got out of prison. How did your vision for reaching others for food really take off? Who gave you a chance or took you under his/her wing?

I'm enjoying the show and I've been suggesting other folks watch it too :-)

Kiera r said...

I'm not much for blogging, but this show is first rate. It's amazing how quickly one gets emotionally invested in hoping these kids will succeed--and worried that they won't. I think its more compelling than most of the contest "reality shows'

Kiera R

DaSocial1 said...

Wow...I just watched the "Fighting for a Cause" episode. I must say that while I commend you for doing what you are doing, the way you treat Shante is astounding. I am not saying you are misjudging her, I am saying you are not giving her a chance. While you sit and praise everyone else, you do nothing but ridicule, attack and judge Shante. I watched as Shante, Maria and Adam came in late for work. I watched you tell Maria, oh it's ok, you are my shining star and whatever else...I watched as you offered Adam a choice to stay or leave for the day. Maria said public transportation was her reason for being late,then you blamed Shante for Maria being late. Adam is having trouble due to lack of self control, which was his reason for being late. Shante told you her neighbors vandalized her car, so she had to get on public transportation. You said you were gonna give her the benefit of the doubt, but you already had your mind made up. You claim you are there to give them all the support they are not recieving from home. I see you give it to everyone EXCEPT Shante. You never gave Shante a choice, you automatically sent her home. I am not saying she isn't a liar, I am saying treat them all fairly. From what I have seen so far, you treat her really mean. Then there is the rest of the crew. They see how you treat Shante and they are basing how you treat her on how they treat her. I personally don't understand why you have her on the show, if you are so eager to get her off. I know the camera edit outs alot, but I cannot help but to comment. It is like you pick with her. When she isn't smiling, you say she has a attitude. When she is smiling you say she is too social on the job. Anyway, I hope you consider watching to see what I see. I know their are people who may disagree with me, but I also know some agree. Anyway, what you are doing is great and if you are doing it from the heart it will go far, but if you are not, you know what will happen already.
Thanks....Felicia

brandiwy2005 said...

Congrats on your 4th show. It was awesome. My sister & I watch your shows even when they run it more than twice. It's quite difficult to believe that someone actually would give someone like me a second chance or even one chance to prove they have some kind of worth other than cash. Or do you just have to live in a city instead of a tiny, unknown town?

brandiwy2005 said...

Congrats on your 4th show. It was awesome. My sister & I watch your shows even when they run it more than twice. It's quite difficult to believe that someone actually would give someone like me a second chance or even one chance to prove they have some kind of worth other than cash. Or do you just have to live in a city instead of a tiny, unknown town?

Paul said...

Chef Jeff
I sent you an email to info@ chefjeffhederson.com
from 1chefonfire@gmail.com

PLEASE Read

Respectfully
Chef Paul

Marylyn said...

Hi Chef Jeff,
I can't express how much I am enjoying watching your show, and the work you are doing with this group of people. I find myself rooting for all of them for different reasons. Thank you for bringing such quality programming to TV, and for doing the work you do to impact others' lives.
God bless you,
Marylyn in Seattle

Minister Ida said...

Congratulations on a wonderful project and show. I am impressed with the love and patience that you give to these young people. Many would have already given up on Adam, but you have hung in there with him (even after he used the N word) - and we can slowly see him changing. Thank you for your perseverance! While I read one post that suggests you have been unfair with Shante, I think you are handling her situation well. I hope she doesn't give up on herself - because somehow I know YOU won't give up on her. I pray all six will make it through - and I can't say enough how proud I am of you! You have proven that failure is not final. This show is truly about second chances!
Minister Ida

Kay C, The Quiet Storm said...

I have watched the show from the first episode and record it on my DVR for when I am unable to watch.

I commend you for taking on such a project. Although, I must admit that I am not a fan of Reality TV, what you are doing with this group is amazing. It can change their lives in so many ways.

We don't realize that many people can go so much farther in life if only they had the exposure and opportunity.

Even if the show does not have the ratings you would like, keep in mind that you have made a powerful impact on a few. Maybe that few will change a few more.

Kelley said...

I am so very pleased with your show and its authenticy. It is the best show that FN has ever aired. I am not a fan of reality TV at all, and I am thrilled to see you step into the genre and shake it up into something good. It is wonderful that you encourage working together instead of competing, and your effort to maintain high integrity in the show as well as your work shows every week. Whatever happens in the lives of those young people, and your viewers, you speak your truth and we all know it.

I'm so very glad to know you are out there working in this world!

Judith said...

I first saw you on Mission Impossible and was very impresed and moved to tears by your story. I remember telling it to my husband and getting choked up. Something just touched me; I am pretty sure it is how good you were with the kids. When I saw that you had a show of your own, I was immediately drawn in, and I have watched every episode (with my husband).

Even now, I sit here and think about how wonderful it is that you are giving these young people a chance. You are giving them, and everyone else who is fortunate enough to tune in, a strong, male role model. Not a glorifed, unattainable role model, but a real man, who has made mistakes, has learned from them, and wants to share his insights and experiences with others. It is so refresing. Please don't change a thing, and I will keep watching and crying.

Traceyface112 said...

Dear Chef Jeff,
It was so funny to hear you call yourself "Dr." on tonight's episode. Since day one I've been callin' you Dr. Dre. Just like he is the beatmaster of rap, you are the beatmaster in the kitchen. The opportunity you are giving those kids is truly a blessing and you are a special man for affording them this chance of a lifetime. At first, I disliked Adam because he seemed more interested in beefin' than cooking. Then Shante started slackin' and while I still think she pulled a fast one (and I know you know it), you gave them both another chance, which speaks volumes to your character. Before I turned my life over to God I was extremely confrontational and would step to anyone I felt disrespected me. It takes a bigger person to walk away and not let the haters and the dream snatchers stand in your way. You're what it's all about in life, not just in the kitchen. I'm not trying to raise 4 kids and I'm not an ex gang banger so I have no right to judge Shante or Adam. I can honestly say I have no favorites and I hope each and every one of your crew gets a scholarship. Big up to you and the crew. May God Bless you all. I never thought I'd love any show as much as Top Chef but I'm already hoping there will be a season 2 of The Chef Jeff Project. One.

Tracey C. in Nashville, TN

matt said...

I would like to congratulate you on a great success. Your show, The Chef Jeff Project, has turned into my fiance's and I new favorite show on the Food Network (taking over for the old champion, Iron Chef America). As a fellow cook and long time kitchen and restaurant manager, I think that what you did for those young kids is great. It brings a tear to my eye every time I watch it. I hope that this is an on-going project that you continue with the Food Network, not just for the "entertainment" value, but for the sake of the wonderful change and 2nd chances you are offering to our trouble youth. I wish that I had someone like you to help me and to mentor me through my times. Not that I ever had it that bad, however, just having someone to give me that 1st chance, much less a 2nd or 3rd with the experience and encouragement that you have to give would have been wonderful. I know that you've had your troubles and I commend you for growing up, maturing and doing something with yourself to move past it. You've done a great job and made a great name for yourself. I wish my Chef had the same attitude and compassion and encouragement that you have.

You truly are an inspiration.

Matt
kitchen at annie gunn's in chesterfield, mo
www.anniegunns.com

Jocelyn said...

Chef Jeff,
My name is Jocelyn and I wanted to take a minute to leave a comment. I hesistated to do so at first. I love to write and I wanted to write a letter. I just finished reading "Cooked". I have never read a book so quickly. I was in awe of how you became the person that you are today. I could relate to so much in the book. I could relate to one of your mothers experiences and some of yours. Adversity can be rough but it almost damaged my entire life. I was like wow I got plenty of second changes from hanging in the streets. I really enjoy The Chef Jeff Project. Before it actually aired I was so excited to see it. After the first episode I went the next week to get your book. I thought a lot about my friends who died after reading about your friend/brother. I can see myself so much in the young adults on the show. I thought about how I wanted to excell more in my life. You are beyond a blessing to many. I don't idolize people but I admire you. I added you to my list of those I want to meet. After I finished reading your book I ran to my mother and was like mom, Chef Jeff this and Chef Jeff that. I was like you when you sent the chef a letter when you were in prison. Please look out for mine. It would be an honored to meet you. No matter how much you reach for greatness continue to reach for some more. I can see myself in a different light now. If you over came much then so can I. Continue to be a inspiration to us all. May god bless you family. You are one cool man! Oh and you still have a little of your swagger..lol!


Sincerely,
Jocelyn
P.S. I'm still trying to master Friendly's Fried Chicken :O)

Deb said...

Hi Chef Jeff this is Debra B. from Career Academy. It was an honor working with you. I complete school on Monday the 10. If you ever need me you can reach me at mydestiny0906@aol.com.

princessdominique said...

Amazing show again. I'll be glued next Sunday with my husband as well.

Gayle said...

Your program is truly inspiring; we're certain that you are touching many lives with your positive message of hard work and respect. Wishing you continued success..

Gayle & Allan San Francisco, CA

zenwaitress said...

I am really enjoying the show. Shante is making some bad decisions but that's up to her, ultimately. If she sabotages herself she won't fail, you have to try to fail. She's likely not receiving support in her own home and may be unwilling to overstep her cultural female bounds. The sad thing is, if the marriage fails she's going to be in very bad shape economically and never get another chance like this one. If she isn't gone already and you haven't shown that episode, I'll be surprised. I think there must be a lot going on related to her that isn't being shown on film because she is not well liked inside the group.

Adam is one of the most antisocial personalities I've ever seen. Be careful. In future, if you aren't doing a psychologist eval with these kids, you might want to consider it. I can't imagine trying to change their behavior with hard work, when half of them don't have the skills it takes just to get up and be somewhere on time. As Woody Allen said 'the biggest part of success is just showing up.' It's so true. It might be helpful to have them working with a psychologist as part of the 'program'. The skills they need to commnicate and function in a professional role may not be anything they can reference with any one they know. It's got to be a culture shock, and while some of them could take the bull by the horns and run with it, like Antonio who is a gem BTW, the younger ones are not sure what's happening and dont' have the coping skills.

Good luck to you. I'm so glad you've made such a wonderful life for yourself, and are reaching out to others. You've earned a place in heaven. It's really uplifting to watch YOU.

Lovebabz said...

Love it! Will Twitter it right now!

You need to join twitter.com

Off I go...the show must be SAVED!

darknluvly said...

Hello, I watched the Vegas episode tonight. First of all, I am very touched by the concept of the show and I commend you for having the heart and soul to take someone under your wing, in this case a crew of determined individuals. Many people are so concerned with themselves, the me myself and I syndrome that they miss the big picture. My favorite is Adam. He reminds me of my nephew who unfortunately was killed 2 yrs ago. He was a hot-head who was misunderstood by everyone. He was extremely smart & couldnt find his niche, but he finally discovered his talent for rapping. He made several CD's before he left us, and I am rooting for Adam to accomplish his desire of being a chef. When I watch, it seems like some of the crew purposely aggravate Adam because they know he is a hothead & will react. I'm hoping for his success throughout this project, proving to everyone that he can make it. My second favorite is Alonzo. Growing up in the hood, I can realate to his position. Much love to you both, and to you Chef Jeff for making a difference in their lives.

darknluvly said...

Hello, I watched the Vegas episode tonight. First of all, I am very touched by the concept of the show and I commend you for having the heart and soul to take someone under your wing, in this case a crew of determined individuals. Many people are so concerned with themselves, the me myself and I
syndrome that they miss the big picture. My favorite is Adam. He reminds me of my nephew who unfortunately was killed 2 yrs ago. He was a hot-head who
was misunderstood by everyone. He was extremely smart & couldnt find his niche, but he finally discovered his talent for rapping. He made several CD's before he left us. That being said, I'm rooting for Adam to accomplish his desire of being a chef. When I watch, it seems like some of the crew purposely aggravate Adam because they know he is a hothead & will react. I'm hoping for his success throughout this project, proving to everyone that he can make it. My second favorite is Alonzo. Growing up in the hood, I can realate to his position. Much love to you both, and to you Chef Jeff for making a difference
in their lives.

Anneka10 said...

ChefJeff I must commend you for the super job that you are doing with the youths and it brought tears to my eyes to see someone giving back and God will always bless you and yr Family. Sometimes it is not always about the almighty dollar but giving back. I hope that the show becomes symdicated like Hell's Kitchen and hope to see more big things, I certainly will purchase yr book and keep doing yr thing. And don't forget the signature cookware from Chef Jeff. Looking for that. Much Love

A.BRuce/Texas

purpleandgold said...

I am a 61 year old white man. Its hard touch my emotional side but Chef you did it. I was completely into your bio and your show on the Food Network shows what a big heart you have for those that need someone to show they care. I am so proud to say that I have two new hero's and they are you and our newly elected President Obama. God Bless You and your family.

jolly2476 said...

Please tell adam to broad that plane or drive to houston and change his life. Adam my friend you have come a long way don't let fear our failing stop you. Chef Jeff mentor has given you a chance to be great take it. Say the bible verse and mean it "All things are possible through christ which strength's you".


Brian