Growing up in East Texas, John Henry has wonderful memories of summer picnics, county fairs and great barbeque. So East Texas flavor is what he had in mind when he created his award winning barbeque sauces, spices and rubs. His strive for perfection and superb taste are the concepts behind everything he does.
As head of the Culinary Services Department for the Houston Community College Systems, John taught the masterful art of cooking for twenty years. He oversaw the training for future chefs, cooks and caterers specializing in the preparation and application of spices, rubs and sauces. His students are nationally-acclaimed, award winning chefs who have taken Best of Show and numerous other awards at the Texas Restaurant Association Show held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. In addition to his many awards and degrees, John is certified as a culinary educator and executive chef.
John Henry is known nationally and internationally for his culinary expertise. In 1989, John was asked to personally handle the presidential inaugural dinner. He put together a team of 19 chefs that traveled to Washington and prepared barbecue for President Bush along with 20,000 guests attending the celebration. Later John was asked to accompany the president to Bejing, China and prepare his Barbecue.
There are many versions of how barbecue got its start and by whom. Each version has its own particular story on who started it and why it is still around. But one thing that is agreed on is African Americans had much to do with the origin and survival of barbecuing. In the South, where slavery was prevalent and flourishing, many slaves escaped the plantation and were accepted by the Native Americans. The Seminoles of Florida cooked their meat over hot coals slowly until it was tender and succulent. These former slaves adapted this method and perfected it into what we today call barbeque. These enterprising Americans operated barbecue stands in their communities and kept this food style alive.
“Barbecuing for other people is something I’ve enjoyed ever since I was a little boy. I can remember visiting my great-great grandfather, PaPa Charlie, at his farm in the rural town of Elysian Field, near the Texas-Louisiana border. His farm is the source of many memories of my childhood and will always have a special place in my heart. It was here that I developed my passion for cooking and barbecuing.
There was a very unique smokehouse on the farm that I remember vividly. I used to love helping PaPa Charlie and my uncles prepare the hogs for smoking underneath the smokehouse, I will never forget that wonderful smell of smoke wafting up from underneath the house as the meat was smoking. Just the smell of smoke alone was enough for me to decide, at the tender age of eight, to follow in PaPa Charlie’s footsteps and try barbecuing and smoking meats. I began by preparing the meat with my own personal touch of spices.”
– John Henry