Fergus is an English chef famous for founding the critically acclaimed St. John restaurant on St. John Street in London, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2009.
Fergus is noted for his use of traditional British cuisine and passionate use of offal and other neglected cuts of meat as a consequence of his philosophy of nose to tail eating. Chefs Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali have both praised Henderson for his dishes, which optimise British food while making full use of the whole animal.
He began by training as an architect at the Architectural Association in London and had no formal training as a chef- never working under any other chef.
Before opening the St John restaurant that made his name, he and his wife Margot ran the French House in Soho for some years. Then, in 1994, he opened St John restaurant in London. The menu changes daily, but always includes signature dishes Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad. In 2003 he opened St John Bread and Wine in Spitalfields, London.
Henderson has published a series of three books that explore his philosophy to cooking. ‘Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking’ was published in 1999, in which he provides recipes incorporating trotters, tripe, kidneys, chitterlings and other animal parts. In 2007, he published a sequel, Beyond Nose To Tail. The, in 2012, he released “The Complete Nose to Tail: A Kind of British Cooking” the third book on Nose to Tail eating.
Fergus Henderson describes the philosophy behind his cooking explaining that, “it seems common sense and even polite to the animal to use all of it. Rather than being testosterone-fuelled blood-lust, it actually seems to be a gentle approach to meat eating.” It is this logical and gentle approach to cooking that has made St. John restaurant such a success.
Fergus also opened a hotel in Spring 2011, described by his business partner Trevor Gulliver as ‘in the St John vernacular’. It is located in London’s Chinatown district near Leicester Square 1 Leicester Street.
Speaking Engagements & Endorsements
Henderson’s stoic approach to Parkinson’s Disease, which was diagnosed in 1996, increased the regard in which he was held and he was awarded an MBE in 2005. The same year he underwent innovative Deep Brain Stimulation which vastly improved his mobility. He is a fascinating character and an intensely passionate chef.
As to his presentations, Fergus is an animated and engaging speaker. He spoke at the 15th San Sebastian Gastronomika with 2,500 visitors attending the event.
In 2013, when bone marrow went on sale in Waitrose stores up-and-down the country, Fergus, who has always encouraged nose-to-tail dining, endorsed the foodstuff, and his restaurant’s classic dish of Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad was voted one of the greatest dishes of all time by food writer Tom Parker-Bowles.
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