Grilled: The one and Only Ben Ebbrell

Ben Grilled

On today’s menu…

I’m Ben Ebbrell… co-founder and chef at SORTEDfood. Although classically trained and having spent my early years putting that training into practice in a variety of restaurants, hotels and private dining environments, nowadays I have to pinch myself because I’m living the dream. I get to create, develop, tweak, test and cook up great food everyday with the help of the SORTEDfood community online and the hindrance of Barry, Jamie and Mike in the studio! 

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My love of cooking all started when…

I was old enough to be allowed in the kitchen. I was lucky enough to be be surrounded by good food from a very young age as my parents have always been good cooks and I don’t think I even knew what a ready meal was as a child… I certainly never ate one. The very first family meal I cooked was a Fish Pie from Jamie Oliver’s first cookbook. I took it very seriously and was mightily impressed when it came out so well and there were empty plates all around the dinner table… I pretty much knew then that I’d worked out what I wanted to do! 

My cooking style is…

Not so much limited to a cuisine or part of the world… although there are many I’m still to properly explore… but I do prefer things that don’t require much intricacy. Instead, big one pot cooks, platters to share, element where big bold flavours or seasonal ingredients speak for themselves and don’t need 101 cooking processes to improve them. 

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My desert island dish would be…

A decent mushroom risotto… you can always win me over with this dish and it never fails to make me happy. Not sure it’s entirely perfect for a scorching hot desert island… but hey.

My favourite food blog…

I only recently started browsing this site, 101cookbooks by Heidi… it’s the kind of food I love to eat, but if I’m honest, rarely cook. So it’s very much food porn to me!      

My most embarrassing food moment was…

Probably this. Still to this day I have no idea how I got confused… but I was convinced I had it under control! Ha!

My best ever food moment was…

This year in fact… one of the many incredible things on our #LostandHungry Tour. Plucking a warm mango ripe off of the tree in the Southern Floridian sun and cutting into it right there with the family who’s plantation it was. I swear, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to enjoy a mango that’s travelled and been chilled again! Read more about it here.

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My top hack…

If you’re ever slightly concerned about baking and/or cooking recipes with ingredients that need weighing out… always go with a recipe with ingredients in weight (g/kg/ml etc) and avoid those that use volume measurements such as cups. There are too many inconsistencies and it will only add to the jeopardy of whether the recipe will work for you!

My one and only gadget would have to be…

Without doubt… a decent knife block and knives. Once you have those and look after them you can do pretty much anything. Oh damn… I’ve gone and done it again… a practical answer rather than anything revolutionary… when will I learn!?!

Would you rather…

Only cook with an oven OR only cook on a stove?

Only an Oven – can’t bake on a stove top… can still do stews, curries and even baked risottos in an oven!

Eat cake covered in gravy OR eat stew covered in icing?

Stew covered in icing… you could always stir everything up and you might not even notice. There’s no recovering a cake covered in gravy… it’ll never look the same again! 

  • http://scienceblogs.com.br/odiva/ Ana Arantes

    That’s so quintessentially Ben that you can hear his voice whilst reading! Straightforward, honest, and down-to-earth!! Good take on life I reckon…

  • Pauline Keet

    Nice to hear a chef going for less intricate food as their preferred style…..tho ofc, it has to be said, that LESS intricate when applied to chefs is all relevant 😉 but I know several chefs and they DO tend to want to “cheffy” things up lol. Also, SO with you on the mango……I have had them off the tree in the islands as a child, and I just won’t touch them otherwise now….they’re simply not the same fruit at all.

  • Maggie Taylor

    “There’s no recovering a cake covered in gravy… it’ll never look the same again!”

    If these aren’t words to live by (words of experience, perhaps?), then I don’t think you can be helped.

  • Spencer Morran

    Baked risotto? I need that in my life!

  • Esther

    It’s true that you can’t bake on a stove top but you can still use it to make cakes, cookies and brownies!

    A baked risotto? Add it to the recipe request list, please!

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