Born and raised in the farming community of Te Awamutu in the Waikato was where Ben fell in love with food.
Visiting his Pops dairy farm, baking banana cakes in his mum’s kitchen as a kid and even washing dishes at the local restaurant as a teenager, this was where his love for the hospitality industry started to grow.
On Completing Cookery & Hospitality studies at Waikato’s Wintec and Auckland’s AUT, he was awarded New Zealand’s “Young Chef of the Year 1999”. His prize? A scholarship to study in America at the prestigious Johnson & Wales University Of Culinary Arts, Rhode Island.
He followed that by winning the New Zealand youth skills title in 2000, earning the right to represent New Zealand at the World Youth Skills championship in Korea.
As the world continued calling, Ben embarked on almost a decade of culinary discovery, working at famed restaurants and hotels with world class chefs across the globe.
Spending 10 years overseas cooking the cuisines of the world I started to wonder and ask the question, what is New Zealand’s Food? What is New Zealand’s cuisine?
Spending many years overseas cooking the cuisines of the world, I started to wonder and ask myself the question – What is New Zealand’s cuisine?
Over the past 10 years Ben has tried to define this topic, resulting in the TV show ‘A New Zealand Food Story’ and his flagship Restaurant ‘Ahi’ but continues to evolve and ponder these questions.
How New Zealand’s producers harvest, grow, farm and fish is super important. So I choose to work with like minded New Zealand food producers and enthusiasts. Those who have one eye on the environment and one eye on creating successful and sustainable business.
2016 Gilmores Outstanding Chef – Lewisham awards
2015 Cuisine Magazine’s NZ Good Food Awards – Chef of the Year – The Grove / Baduzzi Restaurant
2014 Cuisine Magazine’s NZ Good Food Awards – Chef of the Year – The Grove / Baduzzi Restaurant
2012 Cuisine Best Metropolitan Restaurant Winner – The Grove Restaurant
2011 Supreme Winner of the Metro Audi Restaurant of the Year – The Grove Restaurant
2010 Supreme Winner of the Metro Audi Restaurant of the Year – The Grove Restaurant
2004 Cuisine Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year Finalist