The most squeamish of eaters will probably find Fergus Henderson’s food a little scary. Known for being the foremost champion of nose-to-tail eating (that is, feasting on nearly every bit of the slaughtered beast), a visitor to Henderson’sis almost guaranteed an offal-filled experience. Tripe, heart, tail and brain are staples on the menu — all the stuff that prudish gourmands may find more than a little bit unsettling.
Not that Henderson thinks there’s anything frightful about his unique brand of cooking. “We get these extreme City boys who ask us what is the craziest thing on the menu, but there’s nothing scary,” he has said. “It’s all delicious! What's scary about pigs’ tails?” His signature Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad dish, for example, is so good that Anthony Bourdain has claimed it as his "death row meal".
A self-described ‘British chef’ who punctiliously sources produce within the UK, his food can quite easily be summed up as 'what Fergus would like to eat for lunch'. “Dinner is a punctuation mark — you eat, you’re full and then you go to sleep,” declares the lunch fanatic. “Lunch [however], is a potential, a good lunch speaks of opportunity and adventure and it sets me up for excitement.”
Henderson is possibly one of the most affable chefs out there. He comes across as extremely down to earth and is one of the most respected men in the industry.
In 1996, not long after he'd opened St. John, Henderson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. And yet, despite this challenge — and the fact that he’d received no formal training in cooking (he'd studied to be an architect) — Henderson has risen above his circumstances, successfully launching new concepts (such as St. John Bread & Wine, St. John Bakery and the St. John Hotel) and writing two books (Nose to Tail Eating and Beyond Nose to Tail) while he was at it.
For his efforts, Henderson received an MBE in 2007, two years before St. John was awarded a Michelin star in 2009.
Here, in Billionaire.com's video interview, we take to the kitchen with Henderson and chew the fat (or rather, the marrow-filled bone, to be precise) with this jocular cook.