Being one of the country’s few master chefs is an impressive achievement. But Roland Henin, one of the most senior members of that select group, has a fondness for telling a story that illustrates that not everyone finds his accomplishments daunting.
Years ago, working in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, he developed a friendship with a co-worker named Joe who shared his passion for fishing. Joe was one of some dozen children in the family and Henin often was invited to share meals with them. When the men would come in from fishing, they would be greeted with a large pot of a simple stew or soup prepared by Joe’s mother.
She would tell me, “Rollie, this is what I give all of my children. It is good enough for them and it is good enough for you.’ And you know, it was the best food in the world,” Henin says.
As it turns out, the man who is known for perfection and whose awards and distinctions are voluminous, is more likely to be won over with sincerity and simplicity than he is by flamboyance. Inviting a master chef to dinner can be intimidating, so Henin often breaks the ice soon after the first forkful by pretending he is gagging, an antic that puts everyone at ease immediately and no doubt endears him to his host and hostess.
“Good cooking is not about impressing people. It’s about making them feel special by sharing yourself and your very best efforts with them. It’s about setting the stage for good conversation and memories.”
In that respect, Henin feels fortunate. “As chefs, we play a role in some of life’s most important moments. Food brings us together. It makes our differences disappear.”
Read about Corporate Chef Roland Henin’s experiences on his blog.
The preceding bio of Master Chef Henin is courtesy of the Delaware North web site