Fergus Henderson, MBE (born 31 July 1963) is an English chef who founded the restaurant St John on St John Street in London. He is often noted for his use of offal and other neglected cuts of meat as a consequence of his philosophy of nose to tail eating. Following in the footsteps of his parents, Brian and Elizabeth Henderson, he trained as an architect at the Architectural Association in London. Most of his dishes are derived from traditional British cuisine and the wines are all French.
Chefs Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali have both praised Henderson for his dishes, which optimise British food while making full use of the whole animal. A. A. Gill famously retracted his initial hostility to St John in the Sunday Times.
Fergus is married to fellow chef Margot Henderson; the couple have three children; Francis, Owen and Hector.
Henderson had no formal training in cooking, and has never worked under any other chef. In 1992 Henderson and his wife, Margot, opened the French House Dining Room at Soho's French House pub before he left to open the St. John restaurant in 1994. The menu at St. John changes daily, but almost always includes Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad. It was awarded a Michelin star in 2009.
In 1999 Henderson published Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking in which he provides recipes incorporating trotters, tripe, kidneys, chitterlings and other animal parts. The book explains the philosophy behind his cooking explaining that "it seems common sense and even polite to the animal to use all of it. Rather than being testosterone-fuelled blood-lust, it actually seems to be a gentle approach to meat eating." In 2007, he published a sequel, Beyond Nose To Tail, and in 2012 The Complete Nose to Tail: A Kind of British Cooking.
Henderson opened a hotel in Spring 2011, described by his business partner Trevor Gulliver as 'in the St John vernacular'. It was located in London's Chinatown district near Leicester Square 1 Leicester Street. However, the hotel went into administration in October 2012, and was sold and subsequently closed.
Henderson's stoic approach to Parkinson's Disease, with which he was diagnosed in 1998, increased the regard in which he was held and he was awarded an MBE in 2005. The same year he underwent innovative Deep Brain Stimulation which vastly improved his mobility.