23 July 2014

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Potted chef biography: Fergus Henderson


fergus henderson st john 2012 - Fergus-Henderson3-(Patricia-Niven).jpgFergus Henderson is a self-taught British chef whose Michelin-starred St John restaurant in Clerkenwell centres on so-called 'nose-to-tail' eating. Henderson trained as an architect, but during his studies he took a job at Smith’s Restaurant in Covent Garden, which gave him a taste for the kitchen. In 1990, he took over The French House Dining Room, in Soho, with his wife Margot. Four years later, he launched St John with business partners Trevor Gulliver and Jon Spiteri. The restaurant’s unreformed British seasonal dishes immediately focused on cheaper cuts and offal, and its pared-back menu format – a staccato list of ingredients – paved the way for a thousand copycats. St John’s bone marrow and parsley salad became its signature dish and is now a permanent fixture on an otherwise daily menu. In 2003, Henderson opened an east-London spin-off, St John Bread and Wine, and in 2011 launched St John Hotel, which has the same austere decor as the original, and an equally meaty but more accessible menu. Henderson was awarded an MBE in 2005 for services to gastronomy. He has written five cookery books, including Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking, and its follow-up, Beyond Nose To Tail.

St John: 26 St John Street, London EC1M 4AY; 020 3589 4518
St John Bread and Wine: 94-96 Commercial Street, London E1 6LZ; 020 3589 4519
St John Hotel: 1 Leicester Street, London WC2H 7BL; 020 3589 4520