Octavia Books will be on site at the restaurant with Chef Jeff's book during the event. Books may be purchased from us there and may also be pre-purchased/reserved by calling Octavia Books during store hours, or online here anytime prior to the evening of the event.
Though Henderson, who speaks and writes about his life of adolescent crime leading to ten years in prison, hails from Los Angeles, both of his parents moved there from New Orleans. In fact, according to Chef Jeff, the foods he’ll be offering along with the book signing at Tamarind will be a tribute to his late grandfather Charles Henderson, who came to New Orleans from Mobile as a teenager to work at a shipyard on the Mississippi River.
“It’s a distinct flavor,” says Henderson, who is scheduled to be portrayed by Will Smith in a biographical feature film from Sony Pictures. “This is kind of like coming home for me. Even though my professional training is in classical French, my background in Southern food is very apparent. I want this dinner to be down home, back-in-the-day, like when all the family came over after church and the grandparents Cooked.”
Henderson, former executive chef at Café Bellagio in Las Vegas (the first African-American to serve in that role), will prepare something he calls “Southern bouillabaisse.” In New Orleans, it would more typically be called seafood gumbo, complete with shrimp, blue crab, smoked sausage, okra, tomato and a “brown gumbo broth.” This will be served with black pepper biscuits. He’ll also be cooking Southern fried chicken with creamed corn.
Henderson was first drawn to kitchen work during his long stint behind bars, finding his first great mentor in a fellow inmate named Friendly Womack and spending every moment of free time reading cookbooks and other culinary resources. Though he lacked formal training, he went immediately after his release to visit Robert Gadsby, convincing that chef-owner of a progressive restaurant in Los Angeles to take him on. Henderson worked all the stations there, and eventually spent time in many other West Coast restaurants as well. His appointment as to kitchen leader at Café Bellagio formed a natural and happy pause in his life story, as chronicled in Cooked. Henderson has also starred in a Food Network reality show called The Chef Jeff Project, featuring his efforts to instruct and inspire disadvantaged youth, so perhaps they can pursue career dreams and skip the step involving prison.
For his part, Chef Dominque Macquet will support his longtime friend by offering all dishes from Tamarind’s a la carte menu, -- including favorites such as Crispy Colorado Lamb Confit and Vietnamese Crepe with mustard greens, mint and basil, and Fire Roasted Louisiana Shrimp with local Jazzmen rice, crispy mirliton-winter squash relish and kaffir-lime beurre blanc.
Tamarind was recently featured in Forbes magazine and also named one of the Best New Restaurants in the city by New Orleans Magazine.
To make reservations for the Chef Jeff dinner and book signing at Tamarind in The Hotel Modern, please call 504-962-0908. To reserved a signed copy of Cooked, please call Octavia Books at 504-899-READ (7323) during store hours or order online here.
Location: Street: Tamarind in The Hotel Modern (at Lee Circle) Additional: 936 St. Charles Avenue City: New Orleans, Province: Louisiana Postal Code: 70130 Country: United States (added from IndieBound)