A minute with Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Steve Ben­jamin of Jean-Ge­orges Bev­erly Hills | CULI­NARY

Upscale Living Magazine - - Content - | By Rahim B. Kanani

Paris-born Ben­jamin was 14 years old when he vol­un­teered as an ap­pren­tice at a lo­cal res­tau­rant. He con­tin­ued and stud­ied French cui­sine where he earned two culi­nary de­grees. Later on he worked at Le Ce­ladon and af­ter mil­i­tary ser­vice he worked at sev­eral well­known French restau­rants. Steve Ben­jamin be­came the Sous Chef at the As­tor Ho­tel in Paris where he was trained by Joël Robu­chon who soon no­ticed the tal­ented chef. In 2003 Robu­chon re­cruited Chef Ben­jamin to open L’Ate­lier de Joël Robu­chon in Paris and in 2005 he was given the op­por­tu­nity to open up the L’Ate­lier in Las Ve­gas as the Ex­ec­u­tive Chef. Chef Ben­jamin joined the Wal­dorf As­to­ria Bev­erly Hills as Ex­ec­u­tive Chef of Jean-Ge­orges Bev­erly Hills in June 2017.

Was there a mo­ment early on or an ex­pe­ri­ence that sparked you to pur­sue a culi­nary ca­reer?

It is in my blood. Where I’m from, my fam­ily and I love to be around and en­ter­tain peo­ple, the con­vivi­al­ity of it all, and to make some­thing special for them that they will en­joy. Now, I do it ev­ery day, con­stantly chal­leng­ing my­self to do bet­ter.

How you would de­scribe your phi­los­o­phy or ap­proach to cui­sine?

My phi­los­o­phy is sim­ple. The best food re­quires the best pro­duce and the best in­gre­di­ents.

Where do you draw your in­spi­ra­tion from?

I come up with my best ideas when I’m asleep. My dreams are a pow­er­ful source of in­spi­ra­tion for me.

Walk me through the process of how a new dish is cre­ated, from your mind to the plate.

It usu­ally starts with a vi­sion of the dish on a plate. Next is what we can as­sem­ble to­gether based on that vi­sion and un­der­stand­ing the com­bi­na­tion of fla­vors we would like to in­still. Then, we fo­cus on tex­ture and unique­ness.

What are some of your fa­vorite dishes and drinks to serve at the new Jean-Ge­orges Bev­erly Hills?

I re­ally love all the JG pizza and caviar cre­ations, as well as the crispy sushi. The best drink, and I’m not a drinker, is the in­fused laven­der Mez­cale Paloma.

Is there such a thing as the per­fect dish?

There are no per­fect dishes in my eyes. There is al­ways room for im­prove­ment or mod­i­fi­ca­tions to el­e­vate the dish. It is a never-end­ing pur­suit.

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