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From Market to Menu: An Interview With Chef Ben Ford

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Chef Ben Ford uses locally sourced produce to create his dishes. Food photo by oranges are not the only fruit via LAist Featured Photos/Flickr
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By Eli Sussman for LAist

Ben Ford, head chef and owner of Culver City’s Ford’s Filling Station speaks of the farmer’s market and its farmers with great reverence. Chef Ford grew up with his hands in the soil, gardening from a very young age so his respect for the food grown by the farmers comes naturally.

It’s this connection between the grower, the food and the dishes he creates, that he honors by utilizing the farmer’s market products. Ford’s menu can change daily, depending on what he has fresh on hand, has selected from the farmer’s market or has delivered from a select group of trusted farms he regularly visits.

Ford’s Filling Station led the emergence of Culver City as a dining destination and Chef Ford has been at the forefront of the Taste of the Nation event, held in Culver City for the past 5 years.

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On a cloudy “June-Gloom” Wednesday morning, LAist caught up with Ford as he shopped at the Santa Monica farmer’s market. Dressed in Chef pants and a Ford's Filling station T-shirt, the upbeat chef moved through the market, stopping to talk with several of his favorite farmers as he shopped.

Ford spoke about how the farmer’s market influences his cooking style and his process of using the fresh produce he buys when conceptualizing dishes. He let LAist in on where he buys his favorite leeks, his thoughts on organic certification, what drew him to open his restaurant in Culver City and his process for teaching chefs in the kitchen.