James Tenenhouse

I am a Pastry Chef working at a London, England based restaurant.

@James_Tenenhouse Instagram Takeover

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Where do you currently call home?

I’m originally from Toronto, Canada, but in August I will have been living in London, England for two years!

I moved here knowing practically no one, but through the different places that I’ve worked at, and by meeting people around the city, I’ve been so fortunate to meet a lot of amazing people that make this city feel like home.

How did you get into the food industry?

I joke with my family all the time that I was conditioned at a young age to be in the food industry. My great-grandfather was a baker with his own bakery and he is actually who I am named after. I unfortunately never got to meet him, however the love of baking seems to have been passed down through him, and then my grandmother, my mother, and now me.

I’ve really been in the kitchen since as early as I can remember. When I was in grade 9, I started volunteering at a Toronto based restaurant called Tutti Matti. My family were frequent patrons at this restaurant, and so when the owner came over to have a chat one night my parents asked if she needed any “free labour”. I would do mostly prep for the savoury food, and it mostly consisted of cutting up butter for service, picking herbs, washing potatoes, brushing mushrooms. Not exactly the most exciting jobs, but it was one of the first times in my life where I felt like part of a team - I was not a sports kid. Everyone was probably at least 10 years older than me, but I felt like I belonged.

After a couple years the time came to apply for post secondary schools, and I needed to make the ever stressful decision of what I wanted to study. Food just felt natural, and I just gravitated to pastry over savoury food, because, frankly, I could see myself enjoying it more long-term. A month after I graduated College, I was incredibly fortunate to be by a well-known and high-end Toronto based restaurant called The Chase. I made amazing friends working here and learned an extraordinary amount about the industry and about myself.

“ I love being around people who can be so different from you, yet you share the same love of food and passion and create something amazing.”

Who inspires you most in the kitchen?

In the kitchen I honestly get most inspired by my friends and the people in my life. What I do is so collaborative and having a strong team is so important.

Having an idea for a dessert is one thing, but there are several trials and tests that go into it for it to be the best it can be. Having input from other people can help elevate your dish in ways you might not have even thought of! My friends (not even in the food industry) also inspire me a lot as well! Often they’ll ask me to make something and I find it fun to recreate what they know and love -- and change up what they expect it to be.

Favorite tip or trick to share with our followers.

I’m a huge fan of ice cream all year round, but especially in the summer, however sometimes a fruit sorbet is just the kind of refreshing hit you need on a hot day.

A huge factor of ice creams and sorbets is the ratio of sugar that is in the recipe. The molecules in the sugar makes it so that your base doesn’t freeze completely, and makes it stay a malibal consistency.

Last summer I made a rhubarb sorbet (HUGE fan of rhubarb), and in doing some sorbet research I stumbled upon a @zoebakes blog post. She had a tip that helps you figure out the right ratio of sugar in your sorbet - involving a whole egg, shell and all - and you should definitely check it out, it was a game changer!

“If there is anything this past year has taught me is that it’s not always about what’s on the table; it’s about the company that’s around it.”

“Pride Month is a time for everyone to just be proud of who they are, to embrace and love themselves!”

What does Pride Month mean to you?

Pride Month and I have an interesting relationship. It’s taken me a really long time to accept and be unapologetically proud of who I am. Because of this, in the past I almost disassociated with Pride subconsciously.

I thought Pride Month represented being the most massively loud, fabulous, camp, out-there and flamboyant persona. I’m not saying that I’m not any or all of those things in my life (and it has taken me a while to get there) but I think Pride doesn’t have to be that to everyone.

Now, I’m at a place where I believe Pride Month is a time for everyone to just be proud of who they are, to embrace and love themselves!

What does sitting down for a family meal look like to you?

Sitting down to a family meal for me can be as simple as cooking up something with the remnants of whatever is in the cupboard to make a meal with my flatmate; buying special ingredients to make an extravagant meal for a dinner party; or treating myself to a nice meal out.

If there is anything this past year has taught me is that it’s not always about what’s on the table; it’s about the company that’s around it (as cheesy as that sounds). I don’t like to think I have ever taken my dear friends or family for granted but now I would give anything to have all my loved ones around a table talking, laughing, hugging, eating, drinking (not all at the same time).

Please suggest a charity or a cause that our followers can support.

This past year has been so incredibly hard for so many people for so many reasons.

Foodcycle works insanely hard, every week, to make and provide food for people all over London. Like other charitable organizations, Foodcycle has had to adapt with the new challenges Covid-19 has brought. I admire their strong drive to develop and maintain a sense of community, through such trying conditions.

In addition to providing food to those in need, Foodcycle invites staff and guests alike to sit and enjoy a meal together. The creation of this community in an otherwise quite lonely time is inspiring to me.

Food Cycle

United Kingdom

Food Cycle’s mission is to make food poverty, loneliness and food waste a thing of the past for every community.

Read the recipes

Creme Fraiche Ice Cream Parfait With A Cardamom Crumb & Roasted Stone Fruit

  • Prep time
    25 minutes
  • Cook Time
    50 minutes
  • Serves
    2, 16oz Ice Cream Pints

Bake with
James Tenenhouse

This light Ice Cream is a subtle nod to the traditional “tarte” ice cream. The Creme Fraiche adds an elevated acidity and freshness, perfect for summer. A surprising crunch in each mouthful with the streusel, along with the subtle burst of cardamom is utterly delightful. The roasted fruits can be completely adaptable depending on what is in season and local.

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