Born and raised in Barrie, Ont., Colin Henderson’s interest in culinary arts peaked at the age of 15 when he began working as a commis II at a local restaurant.
“I immediately fell in love with the intensity, passion and flare I witnessed during each dinner service,” says Henderson. There’s a certain beauty in finding the perfect combination of ingredients presented in so many different ways. [That’s when] I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the culinary industry.”
Eager to learn the finer points of culinary arts, Henderson attended Algonquin College for Culinary Management and Chef’s training. Soon after, he became sous chef at Beckta, a fine-dining restaurant and wine bar in Ottawa, where he learned how to develop seasonal menus and manage a team. From there, Henderson moved to Toronto and worked at Leña Restaurante before joining the team at Café Boulud as sous chef in 2018. Most recently, Henderson was promoted to chef de cuisine at Café Boulud and continues to push the boundaries of food preparation and presentation.
“My greatest accomplishment in my career thus far is becoming chef de cuisine at Café Boulud,” says Henderson. “It’s an honour to be appointed by one of the most talented chefs in the restaurant industry, [Daniel Boulud].”
Café Boulud is located within the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto and offers upscale French cuisine, such as grilled octopus with ginger, coconut-curry sauce and a mix of fine herbs; Quebec duck breast with Ontario plum, radicchio and elderberry jus; and black-truffle tagliolini with parmesan and micro-planed black truffle. In his new role, Henderson effectively leads a team of young chefs and focuses on farm-to-table concepts, playing with colour, textures and shapes to create meaningful experiences for Café Boulud guests.
“The farm-to-table mindset has been a major focus in my career. I love being able to bring fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to the table,” says Henderson. “At Café Boulud, I’m able to explore this concept by incorporating seasonal dishes to our ever-evolving menu inspired by Canadian culture and its landscape, while keeping true to French roots and cuisine.”
Over the last few years, Henderson has also enjoyed working with pasta. In fact, he had the opportunity to work alongside chef Michael Tusk at his three-Michelin-star restaurant, Quince, in San Francisco, Calif., where he learned the fine-art of making fresh pasta, among other things. As one would expect, Henderson’s favourite kitchen tool is his pasta machine. Other major influences in Henderson’s career include Gian Nicola Colucci, culinary director at Le Bistro at the Bar; Nicholas Trosien, former chef de cuisine at Café Boulud (now executive sous chef at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Dallas, Texas); and Chris Wylie, chef de cuisine at Gazellig Dining and Wine.
Henderson is creative and passionate leader, who remains focused in the kitchen to consistently produce top-quality food. When he isn’t learning the latest culinary techniques, Henderson is most likely playing a round of golf or spending time with his girlfriend, friends and family.
By Nicole Di Tomasso