Sharon Thompson: Celebrity chef knows a lot about offering hope

swthompson@herald-leader.comNovember 8, 2012 

Sharon Thompson

MARK CORNELISON | STAFF

Celebrity chef Jeff Henderson, host of Game Show Network's Beat the Chefs and host of the former Food Network show The Chef Jeff Project, will be the featured speaker Nov. 15 at the Ball Homes Night of Hope at Lexington Opera House. the event benefits the Hope Center.

Henderson, executive chef at Café Bellagio in Las Vegas, is the author of Cooked: My Journey From the Streets to the Stove. He grew up in an inner city Los Angeles neighborhood where he became a drug dealer. At 24 he was arrested, convicted and sent to prison. While incarcerated, Henderson got an education, learned to cook and now helps others turn around their lives. On The Chef Jeff Project, he put six at-risk youth to work at his catering company.

Henderson will speak at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15, $25 and $50, and are available at Hopectr.org.

Southern States helps out

Southern States Cooperative is joining with local food banks for the second annual Southern States holiday food drive.

From Monday through Dec. 16, the Southern States store at 2570 Palumbo Drive will serve as a collection center for customers to bring in canned goods and non- perishable items for God's Pantry Food Bank. Southern States will deliver the donated items to the food bank. Call (859) 255-7524 or go to Southernstates.com.

Holiday cooking classes

Before starting your holiday cooking spree, you might want to hone your cooking skills at Williams-Sonoma.

The store at Fayette Mall, 3473 Nicholasville Road, is offering classes on preparing Thanksgiving side dishes at 11 a.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday. Learn how to bake pies like a pro with step-by-step instructions for made-from-scratch crusts and seasonal fillings at 11 a.m. Nov. 18 and 7 p.m. Nov. 19. Call (859) 272-5856.

Her life as an author

Barbara Harper-Bach will speak about how she came to write cookbooks after retiring from a career in business at the National Association of Women Business Owners meeting on Nov. 20.

Harper-Bach said she will be making apple butter pies, pumpkin cakes with penuche icing and chocolate drizzle, and coconut cakes for dessert at the luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at Sal's Chophouse in the Lansdowne Shoppes, 3373 Tates Creek Road. Luncheon tickets are $20 for members and $24 for non-members. Register at Lexnawbo.org by Nov. 17.

Harper-Bach has self-published seven cookbooks including The New Turkey Clinic, From My Mother's Kitchen, The Christmas Clinic and The Pure Kentucky Pie Clinic. Go to Bluegrasscookingclinic.com.

Going beyond 'Basic'

When we think about holiday baking and cooking, many of us turn to our tried-and-true recipes. As the fall/winter collection of cookbooks arrives, let's take time to try something new.

At first glance, Virginia Willis' Basic to Brilliant, Y'all, (Ten Speed Press, $35) looks like a book you might buy as a gift for a gourmet cook, not for yourself. Recipes are detailed, which might make harried cooks a bit nervous. But once you read through a recipe, you'll see it can be done on your schedule. Each recipe is accompanied by a break-out box, "Brilliant: Short Recipe."

Willis was named one of "seven food writers you need to know" by the Chicago Tribune and is a contributing editor to Southern Living. Go to Virginiawillis.com.

If you don't have time to read her cookbook, you can watch her cook at 10 p.m. Nov. 27 on Food Network's cooking competition Chopped.

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.

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