Speaking about introducing nose-to-tail cooking into a culinary scene defined by prime-cuts, Henderson says he wasn’t consciously trying to be different. “The ‘90s was an era when dining rooms such as Simpson’s-on-the-Strand were popular, where you could smell the beef Wellington from miles away, but it was also about the likes of Martin Lam, Simon Hopkinson and Dominic Ford, the man behind Fifth Floor food at Harvey Nichols. Things were changing. But no-one else was doing what we were doing,” he told Chomka.
Henderson’s restaurant St John recently celebrated its 20th birthday, but it has not all been plain sailing for Henderson and his business partner and friend Trevor Gulliver. “There were at least two or three really bad summers, and those really hurt,” he said.
The turning point came four years on, when the restaurant started to attract chefs on their days off, and Henderson’s fascination with offal and passion for food touched a chord with the cheffing community at large. Once the restaurant was established as somewhere chefs wanted to eat, everyone else wanted a table, wrote Chomka.
Reflecting on his impact on British, and indeed world cuisine, Henderson said it was nice to feel that he and his team had done something. “By celebrating indigenous food and the wide reach of the nose-to-tail approach we have raised awareness of extremities. British food has such a bad reputation but it shouldn’t; the great seasons write the menus for you,” he said.
For the full interview, pick up a copy of Restaurant magazine, out today (29 April).
Also in May’s Restaurant magazine:
- Boxing Clever: Why take-out is the new eat-in
- A full run-down of the restaurants on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014 list
- Table for Two with controversial former multi-Michelin-starred chef John Burton-Race
- Business Profile of Bath Ales, the company behind Graze, Gordito and Beerd. Bath Ales]