Food & Drinks

René Redzepi and Other Chefs Pay Homage To Fergus Henderson

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René Redzepi and Other Chefs Pay Homage To Fergus Henderson
Photo Rexness/Flickr

Fergus Henderson's iconic London restaurant St. John is celebrating its 20th anniversary. To mark the occasion, chefs around the world are paying homage to his nose-to-tail cooking approach by publishing various essays in The Guardian's Observer Food Monthly.

René Redzepi, chef at the world's best restaurant Noma, Anthony Bourdain and April Bloomfield have all written accounts of how Henderson touched their life and influenced their cooking.

Perhaps the most touching tribute was the one written by Redzepi, where he credited Henderson with enriching his work-life balance. Here's an excerpt from his piece:

"Fergus told me, "Remember to read a book. Kiss your wife, see your children, travel with them. Don't burn yourself out." I started working when I was 15 and cooks like me had the unrealistic idea that we'd always be in the kitchen, working 90 hours a week. We weren't supposed to step outside. Fergus has been a big influence on me walking across Copenhagen on a Wednesday night at 7.30pm, and not feeling as guilty as I used to about missing one evening's service. Five years ago, if my wife said, "René, I need you, just take a night off and we'll go for dinner," I would say, "No." Now I would do it, and go home early. He's given me the confidence to do that."

Bourdain, who was introduced to the chef 15 years ago, praised Henderson's roasted bone marrow and said St. John was simply the restaurant of his dreams. Here's an excerpt from his essay:

"He is a walking Buddha to chefs all over the world, a total rock star. He opened the doors for people to start questioning the conventional wisdom of the restaurant business, built up over hundreds of years. He absolutely changed the world, and now everyone wants to cook like Fergus."

In her homage to Henderson, Bloomfield said the chef was ''a great teacher'' who shows "respect and love for food" by "being mindful of avoiding waste and using all edible parts of the animal." 

Henderson was this year's recipient of the World's 50 Best Restaurants Lifetime Achievement Award. Swing by Observer Food Monthly to read more fascinating chef tributes to St. John.

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