Veal Heart, Jedi Timing, and Bone Marrow — Cooking in Barbados with Chef Fergus Henderson

The chef of St. John fame gives an offal demo at Sandy Lane during the 2010 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.
Chef Fergus Henderson

Arthur Bovino

Chef Fergus Henderson

"Lunch is my favorite meal," Chef Fergus Henderson confided to his audience at Sandy Lane during the 2010 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival. "Supper is a strange punctuation mark. Lunch is about potential, about feeding you for the afternoon. Lunch is so fantastic. It always goes to my heart."

Timing, presence, and an understated sense of humor, the chef brought this and more to his offal demo, where with some help he prepared two dishes: bone marrow and veal heart. Among some of the things he discussed were Jedi timing, how to tell when bones are done cooking, and the opening of his new St. John Hotel (scheduled, he said for December 14th). Check out the slideshow and excerpts below for some highlights.



"Timing is a tricky thing. This is where I think the chef is kind of a Jedi knight. They need to feel the force. It’s not like, “Ah, oh, it’s ten past?” You have to look at like this is your bone, or leg, or something, and you feel it. Ah, bones."

"Going back go my Jedi knight theory. You have Luke and he’s flying his ship and he hears, “Feel the force.” So he does that, shoots the missiles, 'Shoo, shoo, shoo, shoo shoo, boom!' And the whole thing explodes and that’s it. So when you’re cooking, feel the force, it’s sort of like that. It’s like being a Jedi knight."



"It’s a very strange thing, bones. And nose-to-tail was quite in danger. There are generations of people who don’t know chickens ever get giblets… I think. We have kids who are thinking, 'There’s this hole here, what’s that for?' It’s weird, this concept that things are empty. That animals don’t have anything in them."


On Heart

"Right, so this is your heart. And what looks chewy gets cut off. When you look at this what with the sinew and fat, then you get this beautiful veal heart. That’s what I was going to say before I turned off, you get the right amount of resistance per bite, you have your teeth, go oh… oh. Well, it’s particular to heart."


On Cooking Lung

"One organ I find tricky is lungs. It about what they do. It’s a tricky one lungs."


On Trotters

"The humble pig’s foot. The most humble companion. It’s an extraordinary thing. I had a special moment with pig’s foot once. On my wedding day, we flew to Paris, had supper, we were in love, all happy, and I had the pig. Fantastic. My wife had steak tartare, which was very lucky, she had a soft landing and she went to sleep. But it was okay, I had the pig’s foot. So you can see, it was a special moment."


On Time and Cooking

"We have a very strange thing with time. There’s this idea that one doesn’t have time to cook, that cooking eats in to valuable time. But I quite think instead that it contributes to a good time."


On Having a Life

"I think chefs need to get out of the kitchen too. They shouldn’t just stay over the stove. They need to watch Star Wars and read James Bond novels. You need to have a life."


On the Most Unappealing Offal He Has Eaten

"Dog’s tripe stew. I felt bad. It was a nice chef, and I’m sure it was an excellent example of dog’s tripe stew, but it was not for me. It was probably an excellent dog’s tripe stew, but not for me. No thanks, Chef."


Click Here for Chef Fergus Henderson's Offal Demo Slideshow.

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