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Food & Nutrition

Who is Chef O

Chef Oliver Hale is an award-winning chef, tennis champion, transplant survivor, TV host, and community volunteer. "Chef O," as he's known to most people, received a kidney transplant on January 29, 1985 as the result of kidney failure and a massive heart attack. "I consider that date my birthday," he says. After 22 years of living with a transplanted kidney, the kidney function declined to the point that he needed to start dialysis on December 7, 2007. Chef O is now back on dialysis and hopeful for a bright future.

A graduate of the University of Toledo with a B.A. in culinary arts and business management, Chef O specializes in healthy cooking, including French cuisine, Italian, seafood, wild game, and other cuisines. Hundreds of dialysis patients across the United States, from Nashville to Salt Lake City and many other cities, have benefited from Chef O’s healthy cooking demonstrations. Currently employed as a chef in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Chef O is also Executive Producer and Host of his own weekly cooking show aired on a variety of public access stations in and around West Michigan. 

While in recovery from his kidney transplant, Chef O discovered the world of transplant sports - activities played competitively by survivors of organ transplants. He and his partner were the #1 Doubles Tennis Champions of the U.S. Transplant Games in 1998, 2000 and 2004, and #3 Doubles Tennis Champions of the World Transplant Games in 1997, 1998 and 1999. He also won several awards in mixed doubles, most recently the bronze medal at the 2006 U.S. Transplant Games. In addition, Chef O won medals in track and field and fencing on the national and international levels. Since 1987, Chef O has traveled the world for these competitions and been awarded a total of 27 medals.

Chef O also put his considerable talents to work as a volunteer in the Grand Rapids, MI community. On holidays, he cooks up dinners at God's Kitchen, a local center for homeless and indigent people. Chef O also feeds hundreds of volunteers at the annual Festival of the Arts, the nation's largest all-volunteer arts festival held in downtown Grand Rapids every June. His volunteer activities extend beyond West Michigan, however, as he has auctioned his services during fundraisers for such groups as the March of Dimes, Ronald McDonald House, National Kidney Foundation and many others.

Meet Chef Oliver Hale once, and you'll never forget him. He's dynamic, personable, and totally at ease, whether cooking for celebrity guests on TV, or serving turkey and dressing to homeless families in his community. "As long as I'm cooking, I'm happy," he says. Chef O is the proud father of three children - Jason, Justin and DaNetra and grandfather of two - Clarissa & Zachary. They just don't understand what the big fuss is about Chef O and his cooking – they’ve been eating it all their lives!

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