Sun, sea and surfing vibes have arrived at EatFirst in the form of Australian and talented chef, Benn Hodges! As he’s such a cool guy, we thought you’d all like to meet him. So here’s a short interview where Benn describes his culinary background, as well as the craziest thing he’s ever cooked.
Starting with the basics: where are you from and why did you want to become a chef?
I’m from Brisbane in Australia, and grew up in Manly on Moreton Bay, so lots of time on the water and fishing. I was working at a café while studying and fell in love with the kitchen and cooking, which is when I started my apprenticeship. In Australia we study commercial cooking for 4-5 years. My dad is a very good cook so I got some exposure to food from him also.
Every chef has a style, what’s yours?
I love cooking with asian flavours. We’re very lucky in Australia to be exposed to so many amazing ingredients, food and cultures. It was a real privilege to learn about them all as a young chef.
What attracted you to EatFirst?
Eatfirst offers a really exciting concept to Londoners, so I felt it would be a good opportunity to be involved. Plus, I get to work with some really cool people too.
We can’t argue with that! So, where were you before joining us at EatFirst?
I worked at the Buffalo Club in Brisbane as junior sous chef. It was Queensland’s only 3 hat restaurant at the time, offering 21 courses to 25 people per evening. It was a great opportunity for me to learn under an amazing chef, Ryan Squires. I left there to work at Cloudland, where I worked my way up from sous chef to executive chef.
After that I decided to move to the UK, my first job was at the Ivy Club. From there, I was offered a job to open and develop a group of high end gastro pubs as executive chef. Next I went to The Century Club on Shaftesbury Ave, followed by a position at Roka, where I was in my element! But after cooking for the Ops Director at Itsu, he offered me a job with them.
Now I’m really excited to be at EatFirst!
As a new addition to the EatFirst team, what’s your favourite dish?
The grilled baby chicken, as it’s the first dish I designed for EatFirst!
I’m sure we’d all like to know, what do you like to cook at home?
I cook nearly every night at home but pasta is my favourite dinner.
Out of curiosity, what’s the craziest thing you've ever cooked?
Definitely a Blue Fin tuna head on a robata, mainly the part around the gills. You can imagine the size, it was bigger than me! But tasted sensational...
Well, while we may not have Blue Fin tuna head on the menu in the near future, it’s certain that Benn will make a seriously tasty impression on the EatFirst menu!
To try Benn’s first EatFirst dish, Grilled Baby Chicken, you can pre-order it from our app. It’s available everyday this week so if you love it (which we’re sure you will) then you can enjoy it more than once!
Enjoy and a warm welcome to Benn!
The EatFirst Team