Brandi Henderson grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, a place whose best culinary years were long in the past. She was raised on packaged foods and American cheese, and developed a fascination with the disappearing Southern food crafts and with the poor eating habits of her generation.
She studied architecture at the California College of Arts and Crafts, and worked as an architect for eight years before returning to school to study baking and pastry. She apprenticed at Tartine Bakery and worked under pastry chef Rachel Leising at the Moss Room and the Academy of Sciences café in San Francisco before moving to Seattle to take on the position of executive pastry chef at Delancey.
There she draws on her recent pastry education as well as a number of earlier influences: the precision and aesthetic sense developed in architecture; a rigorous adherence to the seasonal rhythms of local produce, learned through years spent in the San Francisco Bay Area culinary world; and a devotion to the crafts and methods of pre-industrial Southern cooking, based on nostalgia for the days before microwaves and margarine. She is the author of the food blog “I made that!” which documents her experiments in canning, cheese-making and recreating classic packaged foods, and has for many years hosted regular “family dinners” for friends starved for home-cooked meals. Brandi combines all of these interests under one roof at The Pantry, teaching (and continuing to learn) the old techniques of hand-made food and helping to build a community that cooks and eats together.