HENRY HUMMELDORF Contestant on “MasterChef Junior“ Junior Chef Henry is an 11-year-old from Katy, who lives with his parents and older siblings, Ella and William. Henry has taken a few cooking classes for kids but learned most of his cooking skills from his mentor, Chef Scotty Wagner. He is a student at Jenks Elementary in Katy ISD where everyone knows Henry as “HotHead Henry”. He was given this name because of his love for anything spicy and his homemade hot sauce, spice rubs and unique sweet & spicy cookies. He is currently a contestant on “MasterChef Junior“ where he has cooked for Gordon Ramsay, Christina Tosi and Joe Bastianich. He hopes to one day become a mix of their greatest attributes… Gordon’s cooking, Christina’s baking and Joe’s business sense. He also has his own small business at a local farmer’s market where he sells his own brand of hot sauce, spice rubs and baked goods.
How’d you learn to cook? I started following my mom around the kitchen when I could walk. I just loved being in the kitchen and mixing things together… I still enjoy being creative and of course making a mess when I cook! A few years ago a family friend began mentoring me. His name is Chef Scotty. He taught me about fine dining, fancy cuisines and plating. I’ve also taken kids’ cooking classes and attended a kids’ summer cooking camp one year. Over the past few years I’ve learned a lot about cooking by not only experimenting at home, but also during MasterChef Junior. I feel like I know quite a bit about cooking for someone my age but I also know I have quite a bit left to learn.
What ingredient can you not live without and why? Pink Himalayan salt. It just gives dishes a really nice flavor and makes them pop. I also use Mexican Vanilla whenever I can… even in savory dishes like mashed potatoes! I also have my own spice rub mix that I use on all meats, poultry, seafood and even veggies. I can’t tell you the exact ingredients (it’s a secret) but I can tell you I use a lot of different chili pepper powders, different type of peppercorns and of course pink Himalayan salt. It adds a nice flavor to almost anything.
What utensil can you not live without? My chef’s knife. I have a Shun Chef’s Knife that was given to me by my mentor, Chef Scotty. He once told me that a good chef only needs one tool in the kitchen, a great chef’s knife. Over time I have realized he’s right… I use it for absolutely everything!
What is your comfort food? I love meat and potatoes. My favorite comfort food is smoked brisket on top of a big Texas-sized baked potato smothered in butter and cheese.
Is there a food you won’t eat? I haven’t found a food I won’t try at least once. I love being adventurous. So far I have tried octopus, alligator, squid, oysters, kangaroo, chicken feet, wood duck and almost any sushi you can think of. I would love to travel to Asia one day to try all of the different exotic foods there. I’m not sure about Balut, but I would probably give it a try!
Who are your favorite chef and restaurant? I have two favorite chefs. My mentor, Chef Scotty, and Chef Gordon Ramsay. I respect both of them and hope to live up to their standards of cooking one day. I’ve seen each of them cooking in person and it just feels like I am watching magic happen. There are so many great restaurants to choose from in Houston. I love Pappasito’s Cantina for Tex-Mex (their guacamole is almost as good as mine) and Midway BBQ in Katy. For a really good steak, I would say Taste of Texas.
What do you see as the next food trend? Right now I see a lot of dishes that are a fusion of two or more types of cuisine. I think that is a trend we will see more and more. One of my favorite things about cooking is just the act of mixing together flavors to see the end result. I think when you combine flavors from different cuisines you get something new and exciting!
You have 10 bucks until payday. What impressive meal could you make with it? That’s easy. I would make tacos with guacamole. One of my family’s favorite tacos is made with fresh halibut. I caught a halibut on a trip to Alaska and we had it shipped home. Those were the best tacos EVER. But of course that wouldn’t be in the budget for this meal. Instead, I would substitute tilapia or beef fajita and it would still taste great.
www.hotheadhenry.com | Instagram, Twitter, etc: Kid Chef HotHead Henry, @JuniorChefHenry