Chef Ben Ford officially earned his cooking stripes at some of the country’s most established restaurants and alongside several of America’s most treasured culinary icons.
In 1987, Ben left his hometown of Los Angeles and headed north to San Francisco in pursuit of culinary studies. There he studied at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and was schooled as a young cook in the ethos of using local seasonal ingredients by the country’s most prolific organic chef, Alice Waters, at the famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley. He returned to Los Angeles and honed his traditional French-cooking techniques as Sous Chef at Eberhard Mueller’s Opus in Santa Monica. After tenures at two seminal Los Angeles restaurants, Campanile and Eclipse, Ford was named Executive Chef at The Farm of Beverly Hills where he perfected his flavorful, earthy cuisine and became skilled in the operations of running a restaurant.
In 1999, Ford opened Chadwick restaurant. The local and seasonal high-end California-Mediterranean menu earned him rave reviews and national acclaim, including a coveted 3 ½ stars from Irene Verbilla of the Los Angeles Times in 2001.That same year Chadwick was also honored to be named Top 100 Restaurants in the World by Conde Nest and Beverly Hills Restaurant of the Year.
Following 9/11, Ben desired a way to make his style of food more accessible to the average American, and launched Ford’s Filling Station, one of the country’s first ‘gastropubs’, in Culver City in 2004. He was quickly awarded for his efforts with 2 ½ stars by Verbilla of the Los Angeles Times. Other locations soon follow. In 2013, recognizing a lack of good food in airports, a second location was launched at LAX followed by a third location inside the JW Marriott/Ritz Carlton Hotel at L.A. Live the follow year. That same year Chef Ford authored his first cookbook titled, Taming the Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide to Adventurous Cooking.
This year Ford has partnered with co-founders Alan and Heidi Jackson and will open Bull & Butterfly this Fall. Ford’s three decades of restaurant experience and personal travels inform his culinary approach at Bull & Butterfly, which includes ranch-inspired techniques like ember cooking, spit-roasting, and charcoal broiling. This cooking fuels a menu that diverges from typical steakhouse to include a range of offerings, from thin-cut meats well suited to the asada grill to prime steaks fired inside a charcoal broiler. Market driven sides and local seafood help round out the menu at this steakhouse with decidedly Baja meets California sensibilities.
Ford participates as an ambassador in the American Chef Corps, a program of the U.S. Department of State that advances culinary diplomacy. Through his work with the organization, he served on missions to Hong Kong, Israel, Uruguay, the Republic of Georgia, Turkey, and Canada and cooked for world leaders and multiple presidents. Additionally, Ford remains involved in the national nonprofit No Kid Hungry, with which he served as the chef chair for Los Angeles’ Taste of the Nation event for several years. An active community member, Ford launched a garden at Farragut Elementary School in Culver City, encouraging students to explore growing their own food and helping students better understand where their food comes from.
The Culver City resident enjoys spending time with his wife, Emily, and two children, Ethan and Waylon. He explores the outdoors by visiting his farms and foraging in the hills, and recharges with yoga and other mindful practices.