We had the good fortune of connecting with Devon Henry and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Devon, what matters most to you?
The thing I value most in myself and in others is courage. I’m not one to toot his own horn, but I am the most courageous person I know. When I started this catering business, I had little to no idea how to make it work, save for the support of a mentor of mine who knew the potential and heart I had.

Lack of experience or knowledge at the time didn’t stop me. Another mentor once told me, “don’t let the fact that you don’t always know what you’re doing slow you down,” and I never have. I have always had faith that I would find a way in whatever endeavor I sought to accomplish. That’s who I am: I just keep moving forward.

There is no bravery without fear. I’m not fearless, by any means, but I have unbridled courage; sometimes to a fault! I was never that athletic as a kid and had terrible asthma when I was younger. Even so, I threw myself into baseball, martial arts, marching band, CrossFit… the list goes on. Even entering a career in IT with no formal training wouldn’t stop me. I just learned as a I went, studied up in my free time, and made it work (at AWS, no less!). I just keep moving forward.

There’s no way I’d be where I am today – moving halfway across the country without knowing anyone in the heart of a pandemic, restarting my catering business with little to no potential leads, starting a new job at a FAANG company – without being courageous. I love to see exemplars of courage in my life from the powerful women in my family, my closest friends, as well as my MMA trainers and training partners. They give me motivation to keep up my own courage! It’s a not-so-vicious circle of life to me! We’re all in this crazy life together and the world can be very cruel. But, even more than that, it is also very beautiful.

Courage defines me more than any other trait. That’s who I am: I just keep moving forward.

What should our readers know about your business?
The French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once said, “People are like dice. We throw ourselves in the direction of our own choosing.” This encapsulates not only my take on life, but my take on food. To live is to be free. No matter how situated it may be, each of us has a measure of freedom to exert in our environment. The Golden Age of Piracy from the 17th and 18th centuries was all about this exertion. There were ruthless pirates, honor-bound pirates, self-proclaimed “gentleman pirates,” and so on. The theatrics of the one and only Edward Thatch – better known as Blackbeard – instilled both fear and reverence for the Golden Age and this coveted ideal of freedom. Black Napkin Catering was founded on these same ideals.

The black napkin symbolizes formal dining. In this case, it is also a metaphor for the black flag Golden Age pirates would fly as they sailed across the open seas. My tagline, “Freedom in Cooking,” encapsulates this principle of freedom as I do my best to bring my patrons into the menu development process while also freeing myself up to cook the kinds of dishes I like to make.

The pirate’s philosophy runs so much deeper than rum, robbing, and recklessness. To live is to be free. I came from the restaurant industry working my way from dishwasher to prep cook to line cook and even the “coveted” open kitchen position while obtaining a Bachelor’s in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Even after graduating, I enjoyed a two-year stint working at a four-star resort and another high-end restaurant before I finally decided enough was enough. To make a long story short, I burnt out. I knew I could not continue to prepare food in the same manner without finding a way to make it my own. I gained business acumen from my college education. I developed the skill set from the numerous cooks, both professional and amateur, who graced me with their teachings and wisdom (special shout-out to chef Simone Dundy!). From all these exposures and acquaintances, Black Napkin Catering was conceived.

I am not self-taught, but I am original in my approach and execution. To live is to be free. There is no better role for me to exert my freedom and creativity than as a personal caterer.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First off, I’d have them join me for a yoga class at The River Yoga at one of their three locations. The studio and teachers there are beyond amazing! After that, we’d have to hit up a great spot for brunch: either Rosenburg’s Bagels in Five Points, Mercantile in Union Station, or Breakfast King off of Santa Fe Dr.

We have to work in a hike, since this is Denver! I’d take them either to Garden of the Gods or Golden Gate Canyon; always a good time at those spots. Post-hike seems like a good time for more food. I might show off and cook them a meal, myself, or take them to Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs in Denver proper; that or Denver Biscuit Co.!

We’d have to check out my favorite plant shop, Plantus Potum, off North Broadway. The shop owner there is wonderful and super knowledgeable!

Red Rocks is always a great time, no matter who’s playing, so we’d be there for a concert night, for sure.

Eventually, I’d have to take them to Foraged in Denver; one of my favorite restaurants in the area with the best grilled octopus I’ve ever had!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to shout-out one of my best friends, Brandon Toma. We’ve been friends since I was a high school Freshman. He’s always been there for me, even when I didn’t want him to be; in some of my darkest moments and during my greatest triumphs. I am beyond honored to have been able to share in his wedding as one of his Groomsmen. I most certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without people like him in my life!

Love you, bro!

Website: http://blacknapkincatering.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bncatering

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/blacknapkincatering/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BNCatering

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blacknapkincatering/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD5DCktOGOu4aodj2bo84AQ

Other: https://weddingvendors.zola.com/

Image Credits
Andrew Finch, Whitney Maas

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.