Now that Project Runway is over, I’ve been searching for a new reality show fix. And lo and behold, the Food Network has delivered. I can’t stop watching their new series, The Chef Jeff Project.
The show centers on Jeff Henderson, an ex-offender who discovered a passion for cooking while serving ten years in prison for drugs. Now he’s giving back through the “teach a man to fish” method by mentoring six at-risk young adults who help run his L.A.-based catering company, Posh Urban Cuisine.
Unlike, say,, Henderson’s show isn’t a competition. All of the participants have the potential to win a two-year scholarship to a culinary institute. And thank goodness for that because they are a mess. Kathy can barely make a salad; Shante is two seconds away from flipping a fingernail into a pot; and Adam can’t stop crying or fighting. Let’s just say there probably won’t be any Bobby Flay-caliber culinary feats on this show–at least not anytime soon.
The drama should be interesting, though. Henderson’s straight ‘hood talk, juxtaposed with his professional success, should inspire participants and viewers alike with the hope that no life is too far-gone to be redeemed.
The Chef Jeff Project airs Sundays at 10 p.m. Eastern Time on Food Network.