Helene Henderson

Location: Malibu, California

Swedish-born Black American chef Helene Henderson is the founder of Malibu Farms, which she started as cooking classes and farm dinners on her property, then a pop-up series on Malibu Pier. Although still home-based in Malibu, California, her business has grown into a successful chain of restaurants with locations around the world. Helene is the author of three cookbooks, based on her philosophy of food simply prepared with fresh local ingredients with recipes inspired by her California coastal lifestyle and Swedish upbringing: The Swedish Table (2005), Malibu Farm Cookbook (2016), and Malibu Farm Sunrise to Sunset (2021). 


Helene Henderson grew up in the northern Swedish city of Lulea, where she learned how to cook. In 1997, she started Lavender Farms Catering in Los Angeles, specializing in organic food. Helene began teaching cooking classes and hosting farm-to-table dinners for paying guests n the backyard of her home, which she shares with her husband, actor/director John Stockwell and their three children. The underground dinners became so popular that she took her food on the road, running a series of pop-ups at local farms and ranches until she settled on the Malibu Pier. There, she opened her first counter-service and full-service restaurant and bar locations. Henderson's concept of super simply prepared food, no secret ingredients, and commitment to sourcing as many organic and sustainably raised items as possible has been the key to Malibu Farms' success. The locavore restaurants are now in cities from Newport Beach and San Diego to New York, Miami, and Tokyo. 

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