THE ROTA ARCHIVE

HENNY FOX - THE MAITRE D'

"I WAS WORKING AT THE IVY, HUGH GRANT CAME IN FOR HIS TABLE VERY LATE, AND WHEN I ASKED HIM IF HE'D LIKE A DRINK HE GRABBED MY FACE AND KISSED ME AND SAID 'OF COURSE MY DEAR, ANYTHING FROM YOU' - THAT WAS PRETTY SPECTACULAR!"

Follow Henny on Instagram @hennyfox

1. What was your first job in hospitality?

Waitress in a local Pizzeria called ‘Leo’s’ back in Manchester from the age of around 15. At the same time I was also working in a Coffee House two doors down from the restaurant; so working there by day and the restaurant by night.  

2. What is your favourite cuisine to eat - preferably the opposite to what you work in?

Ooo….Tough question. It’s a toss up between Spanish tapas and any sort of Asian food. 

3. Which dish do you most associate with childhood?

Cheese & tomato omelettes with shit lots of ketchup. My DD (the name I give to my Nana) used to sugar the cherry tomatoes before putting them in with the eggs then would cover it in strong cheddar cheese. Pretty sure I lived on that for about a month straight before I got a bit bored. 

4. What’s the soundtrack to your first love?

Paolo Nutini’s 2nd album. Safe to say I can’t listen to it anymore.

5. What do you crave after a long shift?

Depends on the shift! Either fried chicken or tequila…or both…

6. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – what do you have? 

When I have breakfast (I know, don’t shout at me….!) either porridge with loads of sultanas, almonds and honey or super runny boiled eggs and ryvita.

7. What is your favourite word?

‘Super’ – I say it way too much. Either ‘That was ssuuuppper delicious’ or ‘Are you not suupppeerr excited?’ or ‘Man I'm suupppeerrrr pissed off’.

8. If you could go on a culinary extravaganza-eating holiday – where would you choose to do so?

South East Asia fo sho. I’d eat with the locals and live in the mountains for as long as I could.

9. All at the same time or coursed out?

Depends how hungry I am and the amount of time I’m being given at the table. 9/10 though, coursed out for sure. With a glass of wine with each course…. Obviously. 

10. What is the one area of working in a restaurant you wish you knew more of?

I’m yet to do shifts in the kitchen. I love cooking at home and showing off my onion cutting skills when having people round ;) I used to live with a Chef and I would always be in awe when watching him in the kitchen moving about, cleaning as he went (laughing) – so it’s a skill set that I’d love to put on my belt. 

11. What is the best cure for a hangover?

More alcohol, or a Greys Anatomy day. Staring at Derek Shepherd is enough to cure anyone, or anything for that matter.

12. You’re allowed one shift drink – what is it?

Espresso martinis. Obviously I don’t drink espresso martini’s on shift, but if I had the choice…coffee and vodka? Yes please.

13. What is the one thing which guests do that drives you mad?

When they ignore turn times despite it being a Friday night, peak time, they booked last minute and you told them specifically ‘I have a table BUT IT IS REBOOKED IN AN HOUR AND A HALF’ and they nod and go ‘yeah yeah sure’. Then they take 30 minutes to order, 45 minutes to eat and just when you think they’re about to ask for the bill they order another bottle of wine then when you go over and politely remind them of their sheer and utter ignorance they scream at you like you just ran over their cat.

Super pisses me off. 

14. Do you have any rituals during a shift?

I enjoy singing to myself while walking the room – and mocking the Italians. That always amuses me. 

15. What’s the last film you saw?

A really shockingly shit horror film called ‘Forget me Not’ about a girl that was so jealous of her friend gaining friends as a child that she came back from the dead and killed all her friends. Was so bad it would be a waste of time telling you more. 

16. Best thing that has ever happened to you in a restaurant? 

It's such a tough one, but when I was working at The Ivy, Hugh Grant came in for his table very late, and when I asked him if he'd like a drink he grabbed my face and kissed me and said 'Of course my dear, anything from you' - that was pretty spectacular!! 

17. What’s your tagline/motto?

If you don’t like it, change it, don’t complain about it. 

18. Photography while eating – yay or nay?

Depends, but I am guilty of doing it… 

19. Rank the following in order of priority: wine, food, sex

Haha…Wine, then sex, then food. It usually always happens in that order. Get drunk, work up an appetite, feed ones appetite….;)

20. What would be your last meal – drinks included.

I really can’t say. As long as its cooked exactly how I’d like it, there are so many dishes I would go for. 

21. What makes you happy?

Making people happy. 

22. How do you relax?

Making music, walking my dog, or my ballet classes. 

23. What is the background on your phone?

Bubbles. Literally. 

24. Favourite Instagram accounts to follow

@textsfromyourex – fucking hilarious. 

25. What is the best thing about working in hospitality? 

Being able to create an atmosphere in which all difference personalities and characters want to be a part of, and being part of such an exciting industry which is growing so fast and in so many different forms. 

26. Which restaurant are you ashamed to NOT have eaten at?

Couldn’t say – nothing comes to mind….If it does I’ll probably book a table and go. 

27. Who is the person you most respect in the industry?

Can’t label one single person, but the people who started with nothing and created something in which despite the growth in the business still managed to stick to their original morals and reasons why they went into the industry in the first place. I see so many larger companies where the original ethos was one thing, but by the third restaurant becomes about the finances and nothing else. 

28. What is your go to party trick?

Transforming into Beyonce and knowing the whole dance routine to ‘Single Ladies’.

29. Finish this sentence: I eat everything except ...

Mustard.