Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I just returned from Walt Disney World with my family. It was a magical week. My children had a ball and I must say my wife and I were in “kid mode” as well as we held our breath on Splash Mountain. We weren’t just at Disney to enjoy the rides and see Mickey; we were also there for the 2nd year of Steve Harvey’s
Disney Dreamers Academy. Steve Harvey along with TV/radio personalities and motivational speakers such as Terrence J, Judge Mathis, Troy Beyer, Monique Coleman and many more joined together to mentor and inspire 100 at-risk inner city teenager from across the country. The “Dreamers” and their guardians convened on Disney for a weekend of networking, life skill workshops, culinary boot camp and great food.

We did a mini version of “The Chef Jeff Project” with the “Dreamers” culinary team at Disney. Eight youth who had an interest in the culinary arts where given an opportunity to help prepare the grand gala dinner. There were world class chefs on hand who taught kitchen lessons along with produce and product indemnification.

I had the pleasure of speaking to the “Dreamers” and my message was how dreams are born from purposeful thinking. I was moved by their response to my message and I learned so many things from them. Yes, I learned lessons from the “Dreamers”, children are blessing from God and they are filled with knowledge, you’d be surprised at what you could learn from them if you open your heart and mind to them. Then Judge Mathis hit them hard about making the right choices and took them through his life journey of how he over came a criminal lifestyle, graduated from college and eventually became a lawyer. Another amazing young man shared his compelling life story of being born addicted to drugs. He always dreamed of being a pilot one day. He over came great obstacles to rise out of despair and is now in pilot school in the US Military.

Overall, the Dreamers Academy was phenomenal and I know the “Dreamers” left with a new found passion for life and making their dreams come true. I left with the same feeling.

I know I have been off my blog for a while. I have been traveling the country working and laying the foundation for the next big “Chef Jeff Project”. Be back soon.

As Always Bon Appetite


Lovebabz said...

Glad to hear you and the family had some down time. Disney is the place of dreams!

Looking forward to the next season! Get your butt on twitter! It worked for President Obama!

Aspen said...

Can't wait for the next Chef Jeff project, keep up the good work and thanks for an update.

mrpaulbills said...

Jeff you are the substance of dreams. You inspire those of us that have come from the inner city and have had the unfortunate experience of doing time. I have tried to contact you many times through the e-mails in your website but can not get through to you. If possible can you send me your contact info-paulcbills@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Wow! Its niceto see that you and your family can still act like kids and enjoy yourselves. I took my grandkids there last year and they went wild having fun. Keep up the great work with the urban youth. They need role models and menors to help them believe that they too can make a success of themselves. Best wishes for continued success.

Gerry Fernandez, MFHA, Inc.

Sandra Weaver said...

Chef Jeff please add me to your mailing list.. I want to know when you will start interviewing for your next Chef Jeff Project. My 20 year old would like to at least apply.

You are the best !!!!!

my e-mail is missthang43@yahoo.com
Sandra Weaver
Los Angeles Ca 90061

Jessica604 said...

Hey Chef Jeff, Just watched the first episode of your Chef Jeff Project show on the Food Network in Canada. I have to say that you are truely an inspiration to many people - and that by opening your business doors (and heart!) to youth at risk humanizes a lot of people!

Looking forward to the rest of the season!

UR Cleaves, JD, MA said...

Chef Jeff,

I just completed listening to the audio CD version of "Cooked" while driving to attend the "Going Home Services" of my uncle. I was just "blown away" by the depth and breadth of your text. I was equally impressed with your naration. Great show! This was most first exposure to you and your prowess as the "Bad Boy of Cusine." I clung to your every word sharing your early experiences and your metamorphis to a renowned Chef. I really appreciated your candor in sharing of yourself, your family, and most touching experiences. I have bought a copy of your story for my adult nephew, who "once" asprired to become a Chef, as a student of the culinary arts. I always ponder the thought of him resuming his dream. I have already shared your amazing story with him. I will follow your website from now on. May God continue to bless you and your movement to return to the community!

Respectfully submitted,

Urban R. Cleaves