Monday, July 30, 2007

Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, From Cocaine to Foie Gras by Jeff Henderson

This audiobook came free from, was 8 hours and 3 minutes long, and was read by the author.

This was a pretty entertaining book that chronicles the life of a young black man's career track from petty criminal to crack merchant to prison pot scrubber to high class chef in Las Vegas. It's also a disturbing look at some of the warts of African-American culture. I don't think Jeff Henderson was trying to portray the black church as one with a willful blindness toward its drug kingpins, or if he knows that there is an uneasy truce between vice and virtue that is bought with the money that comes to the offering plates. I suppose I am bringing this up because of my own sensitivity to the incongruities in many white churches. There are a lot of things to be embarrassed about, unless you are willing to do the noble thing and confront them.

What Henderson nails down in this story is that redemption is not just about being given a pass the next time around. It is about doing the work, paying the price, and overcoming the same obstacles everyone faces, black or white or Latino, to be a top chef and commanding top dollar. Management skills are as important as your sauces, and he learned his the hard way. He was not an overnight success.

This gets 4 stars.

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