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NPR News

Book Details Journey from the Streets to the Stove

In the late 1980s, Jeff Henderson was making $35,000 a week as a major drug dealer in San Diego. He got busted, went to prison and wound up washing dishes on kitchen duty. Then he had an epiphany: He actually liked to cook.

Henderson used his talent and his growing repertoire of recipes to rise through the ranks of the prison kitchen.

After his release, he eventually made his way to some of the best restaurants on the West Coast — where his skills making crack cocaine helped him master fussy French recipes such as foie gras.

Now, Henderson is the an award-winning executive chef at Cafe Bellagio in Las Vegas. The 42-year-old describes his remarkable transformation in a new memoir, Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, from Cocaine to Foie Gras.

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