Bronx native serves 1,000 meals a day at Food Bank For New York City
Chef Sheri Jefferson is a celebrity of sorts in Harlem.
“I see the love in her face. And the way that she talks. Her actions. Her food is excellent,” one of her clients, Stanley Lowe, told News 12 New York.
The Bronx native serves 1,000 meals a day in her community kitchen, Food Bank For New York City. But her path to culinary stardom hasn’t been linear. As a single mother of two, she was food insecure and on public assistance.
“It’s one of the darkest times of my life,” Jefferson told News 12 New York.
After considering a career as a nurse, she found a path that fed her soul – cooking, a childhood passion. She realized both nursing and cooking are similar.
“We never really know what God’s plan is for us, but the bottom line is you still end up doing what he wanted you to do and that’s taking care of people,” Jefferson said.
Proving it’s never too late to follow your bliss, Jefferson enrolled in culinary school at 50. She was the oldest in her class. She eventually landed at Food Bank For New York City, where she is the head chef. She says she offers more than a soup kitchen.
“Here we’re taking it to another level, we’re taking it to a supportive level, we’re showing empathy, respect, we’re giving them that dignity, all of the things that they might need just to help them,” she said.
Food Bank for New York City is located at 252 W. 116th St. in Harlem. They serve free meals to the community Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m.