Chef Cheo: Tyler Perry's personal chef creates healthy lifestyles for stars

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Chef Cheo is known for helping professional athletes and celebrities develop healthy eating habits and lifestyles.

As a celebrity chef, Cheo helps clients focus on eating better and making healthier choices. He builds individualized diet plans and guides his clients on how to approach vitamins, supplements and exercise, depending on the client’s personal goals.

Growing up in a Caribbean and Latin-American household, Cheo’s love for food developed during his childhood in Washington, D.C.  He attended the College of Culinary Arts at Miami’s Johnson & Wales University and trained under some of Miami’s top chefs before working directly with America’s biggest stars.

Cooking for celebrities

Chef Cheo is currently working for Hollywood actor and director Tyler Perry.  Cheo said Perry “typically eats about four to five small meals a day.”  He cooks depending on Perry’s mood and “cravings for the day,” which according to Cheo could be anything from “pizzas to turkey burgers.”

Dieting can be stressful, so Cheo said he tries “to make their comfort food so they feel like they’re not losing anything.”

When people stress, they tend to embrace comfort foods that are traditionally unhealthy. Cooking comfort food but keeping it healthy is Cheo’s specialty.

Former NBA star Patrick Ewing, professional golfer Tiger Woods, and New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia are just a few of the high-profile athletes Cheo has worked with.  He helped each athlete maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, in an effort to improve their overall performance.

“Everyone I’ve worked with,” Chef Cheo told theGrio, “I’ve seen the transformation.”

Cheo has also worked with pop superstar Janet Jackson.

He said working with Jackson for five years was a “great experience,” and he “traveled around the world more than once.” While Jackson’s schedule was demanding, Cheo says she was a “great person to work for,” and that “there are certain steps [of his program] that she still uses.”

Supporting Michelle Obama

In addition to working with clients, Cheo has plans for “books, diet programs, food programs, and speaking engagements nationwide,” for this coming year.  He shared that he would like to speak in America’s major cities to educate students and parents on easy ways to develop healthier eating habits.

Cheo recognizes obesity is a problem among kids today, and said he is “very supportive” of first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move healthy eating campaign.

“I would very much like to team up with her and be a spokesperson,” he said.

“Growing up in a predominately black city,” Cheo said about his youth, “there were no food programs telling us what to eat.”  One of his goals is to help educate youth, so they can develop healthy eating habits early.