Fergus and his wife Margot cooking above The French House in Soho, with Jon Spiteri, their restaurant quickly becoming a Soho favourite. Meanwhile over in Waterloo Trevor had created The Fire Station to much critical acclaim.
The Fire Station receives a very significant offer and is sold in 1993. Trevor is offered the run down buildings that form the former smoke house at 26 St. John Street. Trevor and Fergus are introduced by their mutual olive oil man. Lunches lead to partnership and the St. John Smithfield opens in the former smoke house in October.
Smithfield was a somewhat decaying area somewhere between the outer edges of the City and before reaching the hint of some sort of promise in High Holborn, Local forms of Tumbleweed blow by, but slowly word begins to spread about the concisely written menu in the pared down building. People start to come.
Trevor starts to buy wines direct from growers in France, St. JOHN Wines is born
Fergus is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, but remains in the kitchen undeterred.
Nose to Tail Eating is published, Fergus’ first book.
Having supplied fellow restaurants with the increasingly famous sourdough loaves, the Bakery outgrows St. John Street and a new home for the burgeoning operation is sought.
St. JOHN Bread and Wine opens across the street from Spitalfields Market, in a location that was then as inauspicious as St. John Street was in the early nineties. How things change! Quickly the bakery is taken over by the small plates and glasses of wine that are offered while customers pick up their loaves, and the space becomes a restaurant, the bakers have to wait another seven years before they get their own bakery.
Beyond Nose to Tail is published, the follow up to the Fergus’ first cult book, with a dessert focus written in collaboration with Justin Gellatly, St. JOHN’s baker.
Trevor and our wine maker Benjamin stand in front of a run down medieval building in La Liviniere, a village in the Minervois. Three years later our first vintage was being harvested! This is our Boulevard Napoleon, named after the street on which it is made. We work 'parcellaire' with vignerons, working on the viticulture and the harvest, we then vinify at our winery.
St. JOHN Smithfield wins a Michelin star which it has quietly retained ever since.
The St. JOHN Bakery opens in a railway arch in Bermondsey, having outgrown its home once again. The 100-foot long space makes baking of sourdoughs and doughnuts a serious operation! On the weekends we open the shutters to sell our breads and doughnuts to the public from a trestle table, the development of Maltby Street Market is to follow a few years later.
The first vintage of Boulevard Napoleon is produced
Complete Nose to Tail is published, combining the first two books, with the addition of colour plates and new recipes for the occasion.
St. JOHN Maltby opens a few arches down from St. JOHN Bakery, on Maltby Street’s Ropewalk.
Fergus HendersonThe son of two architects - father a keen diner, mother a keen cook, Fergus originally studied architecture before his thoughts turned to cooking.
With occasional stints at The Globe in Notting Hill under his belt, Fergus along with his wife Margot took over the dining room at The French House pub in Soho where they quickly earned a loyal following and critical praise.
Fergus was introduced to Trevor Gulliver over supper and, having found the abandoned smoke house on the edge of the city district, and along with the French House Dining Room's manager - Jon Spiteri, the trio opened St. JOHN.
Trevor GulliverWhen Fergus and Trevor first met, Trevor had recently created The Fire Station, across the road from The Old Vic Theatre in Waterloo.
Its success and sale lead to the offer of a derelict site in Smithfield. Somewhat back to square one again for Trevor but it’s always been the site and the building that mattered, not the criteria.
Trevor also created Wine Wharf and the Brew Wharf microbrewery and restaurant in Borough Market and built the eponymous Putney Bridge among other bars and restaurants.