Our biweekly City Superheroes column highlights the powerful figures walking among us — with the help of a (usually local) illustrator. This week’s pairing: chef Josh Henderson and visual artist Ben Horak.
Given Name: Josh Henderson
Other Aliases: Hendu, Hurricane
Superpowers: Mechanical and physical reinvention (like his bacon jam cannon), Clairvoyance
First Appearance: August 2007 “slinging burgers and running from the health department” with the first Skillet Airstream food trailer
Local Haunts: Loretta’s, How to Cook a Wolf and Golden Gardens cooking hot dogs
Archenemies: McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Apathy
Even Heroes Have Heroes: His two sons: Huck and Walley; San Francisco Michelin Star chef Stuart Rioza; girlfriend Kimberly
Origin Story: Born and raised in Seattle, Josh moved around with his family as a youngster but eventually returned to Seattle. He became interested in cooking during high school and studied music at Western Washington University before attending culinary school.
He started the Skillet food trailer in 2007. The business was holding on by the skin of its teeth for a year and a half in before Josh came up with the idea for bacon jam. “It was a condiment we put on our burger, inspired by an onion compote from a place in Santa Fe. I just added bacon to it.” The jam became so popular that customers began asking for it in jars. “Then Martha Stewart put it in her online Christmas catalogue” and Josh sold 150,000 jars in one month. “That kept us going.”
The jam's reception was a turning point for Josh, the first moment he recognized he had the ability to see into the future clearly, to always know the right move to make. It was also an example of Josh’s knack for reinvention, leading to his crime-stopping bacon jam arm cannon.
His Philosophy: “Make it delicious and keep it simple.”
What’s Next: A number of openings in October and November with his Huxley Wallace Collective, including a rotisserie chicken window, a bottle shop and brewery and his Rite of Passage restaurant.
About the Illustrator: Ben Horak is a Seattle-based cartoonist and graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies. His art has appeared in periodicals including The Stranger and The Seattle Weekly and he is a regular contributor to the Intruder comic newspaper. Find out more about Ben at Grumptoast.com.
To see all our City Superhero series, go here.