Our Fine Friends: Brandi Henderson, Chef

February 16, 2017
- Our Fine Friends
Author - Nick Dies

Brandi is a good friend from my days of San Francisco living, and I’ve always wanted to hear a bit more about her day to day in running her self-made culinary empire in Seattle.

On adventures with our friend group, I’ve been a first-hand beneficiary of her culinary creations, not to mention the Funkhaus office at large has benefited from her first-class banana bread recipe. It’s no surprise her talent is continuing to inspire a whole community up in Seattle.

We talked to Brandi about her culinary life, and she left us with a damn good recipe. Meet Our Fine Friend, Brandi Henderson.

Who are you?

Brandi Henderson, resident of Seattle, owner of the Pantry.

Outline a day of your life.

Every day is completely different. My training is in pastry, so some days I’m preparing to teach a class on layer cakes, pies, or puff pastry. Other days I’m in meetings all day with staff or other collaborators. Some days I work service for our family-style dinners. And some days I just walk to the water to look at the mountains and think about what other fun stuff we can do at the Pantry.

Photos by Gabe Rodriguez
What inspires you?

Fun. We should all be having more fun.

What do you listen to while working? While playing?

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Echo and the Bunnymen.

What’s The Pantry and how did it begin?

The Pantry is a community gathering space and cooking school. The idea was simple: the community-building aspect was what attracted me to food, so I hoped to open a space where people could get together, learn about food, make food, and eat food.

Photo by Dan Fromhart
What has been your most rewarding culinary moment so far?

We host monthly family-style community dinners. The menu changes, but every night there’s a moment when the crowd clicks and all the shy Seattleites relax and start making new friends.

Your handful of must-eat places in Seattle?

Un Bien for Cuban Sandwiches, Mamnoon for Syrian food, Delancey for pizza, Revel for Contemporary Korean food, Wandering Goose for fried chicken biscuits and enormous Southern layer cakes, Kedai Makan for Malaysian, London Plane for simple PNW lunch, Dough Zone for dim sum, and Seven Beef when you’re taking your dad out for steak.

Do you have any sage advice to a pastry-making, or cooking, novice?

Be fearless in the kitchen – it’s just food. Get in there and make mistakes, that’s how you learn.

Can you share a favorite recipe?