Ben works on a wide array of exciting food related projects worldwide that form Puzzle Projects, whether that is consultancy to various F&B businesses, cooking privately, creating & holding public dining events such as ‘#AllGunsBlazing' or ‘The Great British Fry Up’ or collaborating with talented and exciting designers, artists or industry professionals.
Ben is 29 years old and lives in London, UK. He has trained at some of the world’s finest Michelin starred restaurants including 28+ Restaurant in Gothenburg, Per Se, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, the Ledbury, Bagatelle, The Fat Duck, Le Manoir, Vue de Monde & L’enclume.
Since returning to London in 2011, Ben has delivered his style of cooking to great success at restaurants including Roganic, John Salt & Aqua Shard winning several awards personally & professionally along the way.
Wanting to break away from the stiff fine dining attitude often associated with Michelin starred establishments Ben created and launched dining concepts simultaneously such as StrippedBack, NoRules & WorldDinners. These received huge critical acclaim with global requests for StrippedBack - in particular seeing Ben take the concept to the legendary music festival, Coachella, in Los Angeles & countless other countries including Hungary, Finland, Holland & Croatia.
2016 has seen Ben start to write his first cookbook, StrippedBack Vol.1, and move further into creative & operational consultancy for hospitality businesses worldwide, as well as support to restaurant openings in London for ‘The Common’ & ‘Residence’. Ben is also currently holding exciting and cutting edge public dining events such as ‘#AllGunsBlazing’ & ‘The Great British Fry Up’ while exploring how to introduce another major passion of his – music – into his cooking.
“I sort of fell into the industry after a really rough childhood, I was 15 years old and a kitchen porter for 20 months for a crazy Spanish Female chef – she used to shout at me like mad in service time then at the end of the service she would bring me over a dish she had cooked with her heart and soul and the biggest smile – that was her way of saying ‘I am sorry” I thought that was such a personal, sweet & genuine thing of her to do despite her beasting me all service for being slow and not efficient!
I cant say I had any interest in food at that stage until I was at a crossroads that most teenagers face at the leaving school stage. I was 16 years old and after coming second in a cooking competition at Brighton City College I got the opportunity to go for a 2 week unpaid stage to the renowned 2 michelin starred Le Manoir aux quat saisons in Great Milton, Oxford. I remember my first morning so vividly. It was 6.30am and I was asked to blowtorch 400 cherry tomatoes. I was shown precisely how to do it and given 1.5 hours to get them all peeled after lightly blowtorching them. It was now 11.10am and I hadn’t even managed to peel 200 of them, I was being given shit and rightly so. I felt like crying because of the failure of it all and was so frustrated with myself of being failure that I literally made a decision that day to dedicate myself to work with some of the most skilled and revered michelin starred chefs walking this planet, earning very little money until I turned 24 years old and I started to become established as a chef with my own style of food, struggling to live and get by with the poor pay and non existent social life. High end cooking is a lonely place at any level, it isn’t a job - it is a lifestyle.
I sacrificed everything that matters in anyone’s life including family, girlfriends and friends and continually put myself out of my comfort zone to learn. I have never been handed anything on a silver platter or been given a job through a good word from a chef. I have grafted bloody hard for it, at times, going to insane lengths to create opportunities for myself. I have made catastrophic mistakes, been knocked down time and time again but I always got up and pushed on, learning from my mistakes. For me that is what defines you as a person & a chef.
And the best thing is, I continue to learn and haven’t even achieved 5% of what I want to in this amazing industry - I am now a free spirit at puzzle Projects and have a huge amount to give back to a industry that keeps on giving me amazing and inspiring opportunities to learn and master my craft - that is what keeps me coming back every day"