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S3: 12 Journeys With...

12 Journeys With… Margot Henderson

A pioneer of modern British cuisine, chef and restaurateur Margot Henderson speaks to CF’s Sheena Bhattessa for the latest instalment of 12 Journeys With….

Growing up in the Wellington suburb of Belmont in New Zealand, Henderson’s mother was something of a ‘health nut’, cooking a lot of vegetarian and macrobiotic meals. To counter the virtuous plates often served, Henderson made requests for white flour and white sugar – particularly around birthdays – in order to make lovely, sugary cakes.


In Episode Eleven, Season Three, Margot Henderson joins Sheena Bhattessa to discuss her life in food.

A pioneer of modern British cuisine,  Margot Henderson has had a passion for food from a young age. Today, Henderson’s love for cooking boils down to four simple points: “Feeding people. Nourishing them. Making them happy. And, it’s a creative act at the same time”.

In this episode, the much-celebrated chef discusses her favourite meals to cook both with and for her husband, St John’s Fergus Henderson, spotlights a handful of budding young chefs, and shares what it felt like to receive an OBE for her services to the culinary arts.

To listen to Episode Eleven, Season Three, in full, visit iTunes or Spotify.


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Having cultivated her appetite for adventure, at the age of 20, Henderson left Wellington for London, moving to Wimbledon Village. She got a job at Pizza Express, later moving to central London and working at The National Gallery. While working at The Eagle, she met her now husband, Fergus Henderson. Together, they opened a little restaurant above The French House pub and fell in love. They started “cooking all sorts” – things like quail, poached meats, and animals cooked on the bone; “food cooked more in the countryside”. Seasonal cooking played a key role. Reflecting on cooking for each other, and the crowds of Soho, back when, these days, the meal Margot most frequently prepares for Fergus is: deviled kidneys on toast, which she cooks “for his birthday every year”.


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Another great love of Henderson’s life is business partner and friend, Melanie Arnold, Co-Founder of Arnold & Henderson. Later in this episode, Henderson speaks on finding great partners (noting her 26-year strong business relationship with Arnold), representation in the industry, favourite London eateries, and recalls the ‘warm glow’ she felt on learning she was to receive an OBE for her services to the culinary arts. Tune in for the episode in full at the link below.

Click to listen on iTunes or Spotify.

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