The mood was cloudy with a slightly chilled temperature. I was headed to the what some call, “swank,” part of Culver City where the hip businesses rock their brand.
Chef Ben Fords Filling Station sits perfectly off Culver Boulevard, sort of like a sandwiched cul-de-sac and is the area’s first “gastro pub” outside of, “The Spotted Pig, in N.Y. Gastropubs are based on fundamentals that combine cooking, teaching and foraging.
As fast as my legs could get to the door, my red sneakers led themselves past the people waiting to get in. The entrance opened into a widened area sharing walls covered with a mixture of dark and lightly covered wood, immediately followed by colorful picture frames show casing nostalgic memories of yore.
The openness of the main dining area made all who entered feel like saying, “I’m home.” Ben was waiting off to the side where he-excused himself while proceeding to change the music blasting rhythmically while diners ate lunch.
Upon a first meeting, he might strike someone as a man’s man, rugged, with a medium to low range voice fixated on one thing, how to turn your taste buds on. His hair a chestnut colored frock of tossed curls, tailored to a face fit for a cover.
The smell of a variety of spices drifted slowly past my nose as we looked for space to conduct the interview. We found a cool corner in the outside patio area.
With an ever-quiet manner, this Master Chef’s hands seem to design a menu while they moved. Ford began to explain the art, and skilled craft of being a Chef.
His explanation of how color, style, vibe, and texture blend into one fine recipe was similar to Picasso who used a number of colors, tones, and images to explain his paintings and sculptures. It is an ongoing process of matching those selections to serve diverse cultures and situations.
Skilled artisan, and actor, father Harrison Ford and mother, Mary Ford, cook and illustrator influenced Ben and exposed him to the music of the 60’s and 70’s ranging from country, rock artist, like Little-feet to blues, and R&B singer, Solomon Burke.
He gave a detailed description of how to take a food, from its early seeding to a flavorful piece of content. A true alchemist, Chef Ben Ford’s special potions are created with an extensive knowledge of food lover’s sensitivity and delicate palettes.
Benjamin Ford brings his cultivated experience of foraging to his restaurant and uses only the finest herbs from his own backyard and Los Angeles hillsides.
Mentoring began at the University Of Southern California then deepened when Ben studied at the University of Dijon, in Burgundy, France. He worked side by side with well-known organic chef Alice Walters, of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, and gained impeccable knowledge as creative developer for George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch where he ran three on-site concept restaurants for Lucas Arts, Lucas Films and theatrical sound giant, THX.
When this top chef returned to Los Angeles his finely sharpened knowledge of French culinary techniques and Sous Chef experience learned at Eberhard Mueller Opus in Santa Monica had forever weaved itself into Ben’s competitive menu of California and Mediterranean lifestyles.
This food product expert is committed to foraging the best of organic products and writing the book on how to succeed as a local based business. Ford’s filling Station has received and earned rave reviews from Zagat, Chadwick Catering and Michelin.
Ford is the first of Los Angeles restaurants to receive Three Stars from the Los Angeles Times. His highly publicized television appearances on Iron Chef America, The Today Show, Martha Stewart, After Hours With Daniel Bulud, Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Supper Club With Tom Bergeron and The Food Network Sandwich Challenge has positioned Ford as a sought after expert in this ever expanding field.
His protégé’s Vincent Dotolo and Jon Shook help to form Chadwick Catering and are Executive Chefs at Son of Gun and the Animal Restaurant.
Chef Ben Ford is a family man and father of two children. Emily Ford sits on the Board of The Fernando Pullam School of Performing Arts, Dine LA Advisory Board and served for three years at the Culver City Chamber Of Commerce.
Emily is the Director of Operations for Fords Filling Station. Known as an advocate for higher learning, Emily launched the first Organic Garden curriculum dedicated to teaching students about planting and harvesting healthy foods at Farragut Elementary School in Culver City. This curriculum is now used in all Culver City Elementary Schools.
www.fordsfillingstation.net , l – 9531Culver Boulevard l Los Angeles, California 90232 l t-310-202-1470 f-310-202-0428 l firstname.lastname@example.org l Twitter @chefbenford l FB @ Fords Filling Station.