An interview with Fergus Henderson

I can hardly believe that I’m posting this.  Mr. Fergus Henderson – winner of countless awards, recipient of a Michelin star, and owner of the 14th ranked restaurant in the world – took time out of his day to answer my questions. I’m awe-struck and honored to say the very least, and I thank him and his Office Manager Candice Martin for humoring my interview request. Personally, my favorite part of the interview was his first line:

Dear Ryan,

I am very impressed by your endeavor to cook everything from my book, good luck and I wish you a larky appetite.

Mr. Henderson has given some very interesting answers to the submitted questions and I invite you to read into them as you see fit.  I hope that you enjoy his answers as much as I have.

You’ve mentioned in prior interviews that your mother was a fine cook.  If you had to pick one dish she made as a favorite, which would it be and why? What other comfort foods do you tend to cling to? Any particularly guilty pleasures?

Gosh, where to begin? Mum’s fish pie and peas is comfort itself, or steamed treacle pudding. I seem to be immune to guilt when it comes to food.

Under what curious circumstances did you come to find the Bicyclette?

Unfortunately, probably due to too many Bicyclette, I can’t remember our first meeting but here are all my needs gathered in one drink: bitter, medicinal and cleansing.

Have you considered opening a restaurant in America, and if so, where?

It has crossed my mind in New York. But I love New York so much that it would be a shame to spoil things with a restaurant to worry about. Also London is what I know so I am staying here for the time being.

If approached to do a reality TV/cooking show, would you do it? Why or why not?

Reality and TV don’t go hand in hand so no.

What was the reason you decided to abandon architecture and pursue cooking?  Did you have second thoughts about the change, and if so when did you know that you were going to succeed?

Fickle finger of fate, you can’t fight it. I’m still an architect, slightly distracted by kitchens. A happy place to be.

The following questions were submitted by fans of St. John and Mr. Henderson.

Tricia Homis – If you have a person that has taste and texture issues, where do you recommend that person begin in regards to offal?

Tricia, tripe strokes your innards as it goes down, but that’s me. What is maddening is that people take a stance on texture and flavor before they have even tried something.

Jaden Hair from – Is there ANY part of an animal that you’ve tried cooking with that just didn’t work in any sort of recipe?

Well Jaden, most bits of the animal I have found a culinary home, but I’m afraid I can’t quite warm up about animal genitalia.

Hank Shaw from Hunter Angler Gardner Cook – I love your food, Fergus, but there are a few recipes in your cookbook that skip deep browning or crispiness when it could easily be added.  What is your reasoning behind it?

Superstition Hank! If you say brown something or make it crisp, it will never happen.

John Michael Guerrero –  The Mexican cuisine celebrates the nasty bits much like you do.  What are your impressions of their style of cookery?

They are not the nasty bits!

David Shaw from Belm Blog – Your plates always seem to have exactly enough on them to highlight the main ingredient. How do you know when to stop adding components to a dish?

Don’t start adding components, say farewell to garnish David, and just make sure your slice of whatever it is on the plate is as it should be.

Special thanks to my friend Tricia for helping me edit and improve the interview questions.

16 thoughts on “An interview with Fergus Henderson

  1. An interview with the great man himself? Fantastic. Been looking forward to this for ages. Thanks indeed

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  4. Nice job, Ryan! As to Fergus, crispiness is not such a zephyr as to be impossible to achieve, so methinks he doth cop out…


  5. Just realized I never got a chance to comment on this, Ryan. What a great honor this is for you and your blog, and a real treat for your readers to hear from Fergus himself.

    I love the question about reality TV, especially because I had an idea about who you might be referring to when you asked. And I loved his answer to that one.

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  7. Just great.

    I like FH even more (larky apetite eh, I want one too)

    Thanks for doing this Ryan xx

    My new motto – ‘say farewell to garnish’

  8. I applaud you on your long-awaited interview with FH. I get a new insight to the love one can have for food every time I read or see an interview with him. You did not disappoint me in gaining another spectacular insight. Thank you very much.

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