Executive Chef Roy Hendrickson

Fabulous People: Roy Hendrickson

Dad-of-six Roy Hendrickson is the executive chef at Covewood, the signature dining experience at San Diego Mission Bay Resort. Covewood’s cuisine celebrates the local bounty with an emphasis on fresh seafood and wood-grilled veggies, paired with California wine and hand-crafted spirits. Learn about Roy Hendrickson…

Hometown: I’ve lived in many places including Huntington Beach, Calif.; Springfield, Miss.; Ellettsville, Ind.; and internationally in Coventry, England. For the past eight years, I’ve been proud to call San Diego home.

First job: My first job was at a restaurant in Coventry that at the time was called Seasons Restaurant. It was located at the Coventry Hill Hotel in Allesley Village, which I believe it still is. Both of my sisters actually worked there too, though their roles were with the front desk staff. At the time I worked there, the restaurant served intercontinental cuisine. 

Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: I love to spend time with my family and take advantage of the countless local attractions and incredible eateries in the city. We love exploring Coronado Island and visiting the San Diego Zoo. Our favorite eateries in town include Fathom Bistro and anything that my kids approve! 

Your biggest accomplishment and why: My career is a huge part of my identity, so my journey growing from a server and working my way up to executive chef without any formal training is something I’m very proud of. The various experiences I’ve had throughout my career have really shaped who I am as a chef and it is an honor to be able to tell my story through my cuisine. 

The biggest obstacle you overcame: The biggest obstacle, and I always say to aspiring line cooks, is growing from a line cook to a sous chef. It is a bit of a catch-22 from a resume standpoint — I have always felt that if you focus on growing and learning your craft in the correct environment, you’ll be recognized for those efforts and the potential for growth is exponential.  

Someone who inspires you and why: My team at Covewood inspires me to do better as a leader. Seeing how hard they work to produce the highest quality food possible is very fulfilling and seeing their dedication makes me want to work even harder. There are quite a few chefs along the way who have believed in my family and I, and I am incredibly grateful for the support I have received along the way. I’ve worked with chefs including Chef Thomas Ortega, Chef Adam Votaw and Chef Jennifer Cox who have helped shape me into the chef I am today. I’ve also spent years watching Chef Thomas Keller and Chef Tom Colicchio. I’ve read many of their books and have always been a big fan of their work and admire their successes. 

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Set your goals and fervently go for them. Soak up as much knowledge as you can from your peers along the way and maintain focus on your end goal. 

Favorite quote: “Learn how to cook-try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun.” –Julia Child

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I am a father of six amazing children! They keep me on my toes but coming home to them at the end of a long day is the greatest reward. 

What makes someone fabulous: In the culinary world, being charismatic and optimistic are the optimal traits. Being fearless and approaching everything with a “the sky is the limit” mentality! 

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