Exploring the World of Chef Ben Ford and His Filling Station
Chef Ben Ford is no newbie to the West Coast restaurant scene. As a graduate of the California Culinary Academy, he was educated by America’s most distinguished organic chef, Alice Waters, on the ethos of using local, seasonal ingredients at the renowned Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. He moved to Los Angeles and worked for the likes of Eberhard Mueller’s Opus, Campanile and Eclipse before he was named Executive Chef and created the concept for The Farm of Beverly Hills. After opening Chadwick, a three-star California-Mediterranean restaurant, he conceptualized and opened Ford’s Filling Station in L.A.’s Culver City neighborhood. The restaurant turned the community into one of the city’s most vibrant dining districts and won the prestigious Cochon555 award. Sadly, it shuttered after 10 years in June 2014 when the building changed hands. But when one door closes, another opens, and Ford’s Filling Station was already breaking ground on another space in the J.W. Marriot Los Angeles L.A. Live.
The vibrant menu brings to the table what you would expect from a gastropub, but Ford reinvents classic dishes with seasonal ingredients to make each course a standout. Small bites like sea bass crudo and lamb meatballs with tomato chutney, lardo and tzatziki are made to share alongside a few thoughtful salads to get your green fix. The flatbread pizzas change seasonally to feature the freshest ingredients like winter mushroom with mozzarella, kale and pistachio-basil pesto. When it comes to mains, Ford’s meat-centric dishes like lemon roasted jidori chicken with canary lentils, tomato, carrots and chorizo crumb and a smoked pork chop with Brussel sprout-butternut squash hash and pecan butter will leave you full and satisfied. There’s also something for everyone on the sweets menu, from blackberry crumble to house-made ice cream, so make sure to save room. The cocktails are delicious, with twists on both old and new recipes to give you a well-shaken buzz. And if all that isn’t enough, soon you’ll be able to order a whole pig dinner for 8-10 people. Boom.
If you’re in L.A., we suggest you check out Ford’s Filling Station ASAP. But for everyone else, Ford released his first cookbook – Taming the Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide to Adventurous Cooking – last year. With a focus on using quality, sustainable ingredients, it shows you how to bring people together for a good meal, whether you’re cooking for 40 or four. To learn more about Ford and what he’s doing next, visit chefbenford.com.