FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Chef Damion Henry, The Langham, Chicago

by Kimberly Inlander

May 1, 2019

IT ALL STARTED IN childhood for Chef Damion Henry. He grew up in Jamaica, spending time in the kitchen with his mother and aunt. While his mom tended to the savory, his aunt loved to bake sweets and pastries. Learning techniques, methods and traditions from both sparked Henry’s love of cooking and inspired his life’s work.

Today, as the executive chef of The Langham, Chicago, he oversees all culinary operations within the hotel including banquets, Travelle Restaurant, Pavilion, in-room dining and the Club Lounge. Seeking inspiration from historical styles, genuine ingredients, his Jamaican roots and more, he brought his cook-from-the-heart philosophy to Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida; Four Seasons Miami; Four Seasons Hotel New York; and Conrad Hotel in Battery Park before landing at the Midwestern luxury hotel.

WHICH DESTINATIONS INSPIRED YOU, AND HOW HAS THAT INSPIRATION TRANSLATED INTO YOUR CULINARY CONCEPTS? Traveling to different countries is such a treat; I look forward to all unique food techniques and, most of all, the longstanding culture that comes through the food with every bite. The greatness of the American experience is you have so many cultural influences within one country. Living in Florida was a treat with the ocean at your fingertips and amazing seafood yearround. New York City, for me, was like cooking in heaven. The vast amount of international food scenes was eyeopening. For the last six years, I’ve developed a love for the Midwest. Chicago is one of the hottest food scenes in the country, and local farmers are getting creative with the offered products.

WHOM DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR CULINARY HERO? That is a hard question to answer. I have worked with many chefs that influenced my style of cooking and techniques, for which they get an abundance of credit, but my mom has always been a hero of everything in my book. Her cooking was great, and I still remember cooking with her at a young age. Her work ethic showed me the way through my cooking success.

WHAT ONE PERSON MOST INFLUENCED YOUR COOKING STYLE? As a chef, everywhere you work people influence your cooking style. Many chefs and great cooks alike influenced me. I traveled the country and worked with different chefs like Anthony Zamora; Jeffrey Cousineau; Patrick Duff; and, one of my biggest influences, culinary professor Drue Brandenburg. They have all been great mentors that shaped my career.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD CITY? I have many, from New York, Miami and Chicago to San Francisco, Las Vegas and Paris. They all have amazing food scenes that make me happy. Choosing would be like asking me to choose between my two sons — it just wouldn’t work.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE NEXT BIG TREND ON THE FOOD SCENE WILL BE? It’s already here: Plant-based food will take over as the world becomes more conscious about everything it consumes. Red meat gets a bad rap, but it can also be the cause of many health difficulties. I am a meat lover, and a good steak is the best thing in the world, but plant-based food is not going away.


330 N. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
tel 312 923 9988


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