Nearly every other chef on this list credits (in some way or another) their time working under a more-accomplished chef early in their career as being a formative experience that drove them to greater heights. Not so with Fergus Henderson. Not only has Fergus never worked under another chef, he had no formal culinary training when he opened the French House Dining Room at Soho’s French House Pub in 1992, proving that if you’re good enough at your craft, you’ll find a way to succeed.
In 1994, Fergus opened the St. John restaurant, and it has remained open and wildly popular for the past 22 years. With his use of offal and traditionally-discarded cuts of meat, Fergus can rightly be considered one of the forefathers of the nose-to-tail philosophy. In fact, in 1999, Fergus published “Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking,” a cookbook that suggested the use of trotters, tripe, kidneys, chitterlings and other animal parts that are usually thrown out by even the most adventurous chefs. In the book, Fergus shed some light on his culinary philosophy. And not surprisingly, his reasoning is quite British indeed (that is to say, exceedingly polite): “It seems common sense and even polite to the animal to use all of it. Rather than being testosterone-fueled blood-lust, it actually seems to be a gentle approach to meat eating.” Critics agree: in 2009, St. John was awarded a Michelin star.
The amazing Brain Burger, on the bar menu daily at Bread & Wine. A perfect snack while you sit at the zinc: breaded and fried calf's brain, with the most delicious Sauce Grebriche. Quick lunch with a glass of St. JOHN Blanc? Or with one of Fergus' award winning negronis!! #brainburger #barsnack #stjohn #breadandwine #spitalfields
Puffball, Brown Butter & Capers on the menu at Bread and Wine... Where we are URGENTLY looking for floor & bar staff to join our fantastic family! Apply by email to: jobs at stjohnrestaurant.com. Tag your superstar hospitality friends!! #stjohn #hospitalityjobs #london #breadandwine #puffball #foraging #seasonaleating
Specialties & Resources
The menu at St. John changes daily, but Fergus does have one staple that is almost always available to order: Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad; as is evident, Fergus’ creations are steeped in British culinary tradition.
St. John offers a seasonal “feasting” menu for groups of 10 or more. Offerings include radishes & butter; grilled ox heart with celeriac & pickled walnut; roast shallots with goat’s curd & mint; crispy pig’s cheek with dandelion; beetroot with boiled egg & anchovy; lamb tongues with butterbeans & green sauce; grilled Jerusalem artichoke with red onion & olive; a whole roast suckling pig; grouse; braised beef with red wine & mash, whole baked fish on green & white vegetables; roast lamb with carrots & aioli; braised venison with red cabbage, trotters & prunes; whole roast guinea fowl with lentils & mustard; hake & leek pie; hare pie; and, of course, the aforementioned roast bone marrow & parsley salad.
Though the bar menu changes daily, today’s offerings include dandelion & roast shallots; smoked mackerel with potato & dill; grilled sardines & green sauce; Tamworth ham with radishes & watercress; devilled kidneys; and cold roast lamb with chicory & anchovy.