How to Cook & Entertain for a Crowd
Ben Ford is a true gem of the culinary world. His new book, Taming the Feast, is a departure from your run-of-the-mill cookbook. I am not looking for another way to make a Caesar salad. I want to know how to make wood-fired paella and roast a whole pig. In typical Ben Ford fashion, it is way ahead of the curve. Each of the nine chapters of Taming the Feast focuses on a theatrical and inspirational feast. Ford, along with Carolyn Carreño, has put together a blueprint for creating incredible meals. There are so many weekend hobbyists these days who are searching for this exact book.
At the top of each chapter is a timeline taking the guesswork of planning a huge meal out of the equation. The step-by-step guide takes the stress and fear out of cooking for a large group of people. Each recipe is carefully laid out with beautiful photography and illustrations to demonstrate what might otherwise be challenging cooking techniques, like smoking a whole brisket or hog-tying corn on the cob.
With the how-to guides and diagrams, Ford makes building your own cinder block pit easier than building an IKEA bookshelf. But if the thought of building your own cooking equipment sounds too daunting, there is no need to fear. Each feast is incredibly scalable and perfect for how people entertain today. If you want to create the big feast, have fun this weekend. If you would like to feed four-to-six people, this book will guide you through that too.
This book is a must for the home cook looking for something new. It is a must for the weekend DIYer. It is a must for the serious food geek. It is a must for anyone looking to bring people together around the dinner table. In other words, this book is for you. Order your copy here.
Sneak Peak: Get Ford’s recipe for 12-hour whole brisket with a Texas-style dry rub & mop sauce.
Listen to a Go Fork Yourself podcast with Ben Ford.
About Ben Ford
Chef Ben Ford, renowned master chef and restaurateur, is known his creative technique and inspired dishes. He also possesses an innate understanding of the ingredients in his dishes – dishes which celebrate the cycle of life and the bountiful freshness of the earth. Chef Ford has enjoyed numerous tv appearances – on Iron Chef America, The Today Show, Martha Stewart, After Hours with Daniel Boulud, Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Supper Club with Tom Bergeron, and The Food Network Sandwich Challenge. These appearances have afforded him the opportunity to share his philosophy of craft-driven sustainable cooking.
Chef Ford earned his kitchen stripes at three distinguished Los Angeles restaurants, The Farm of Beverly Hills, Opus, and Campanile. After his elegant acclaimed Chadwick restaurant in Beverly Hills, he decided to return to a more basic approach. Along with The Spotted Pig in NYC, Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City was the first regional American “gastropub” – based on the fundamentals of teaching, cooking and foraging. Ford is an urban forager who frequently finds the ingredients of his dishes on the hillsides of Los Angeles and near his home. His innovative use of such ingredients proves that truly good food doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Ford’s Filling Station (recommended by both Michelin and Zagat) received two and a half stars from the Los Angeles Times during its first month, and it continues to receive high praise from print and online media and critics six years after it opening.
Chef Ford’s epicurean journey began after he left the University of Southern California to study at the University of Dijon – in the heart of Burgundy, France. He was inspired by the Slow Food Movement of Europe, and when Ford returned to the States, he studied culinary arts at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.
He soon joined Alice Waters, one of the country’s finest organic chefs, at the famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, and then was a chef at the Skywalker Ranch where he helped run three on-site concept restaurants catering to the working community of Lucas Arts, Lucas Films, and THX.
Chef Ford returned to Los Angeles and honed his traditional French-cooking techniques as Sous Chef at Eberhard Mueller’s Opus in Santa Monica.
After tenures at two venerable Los Angeles restaurants, Campanile and Eclipse, he was named Executive Chef and created the concept for The Farm of Beverly Hills, where he perfected his flavorful, earthy cuisine and became skilled in the operations of running a restaurant.
Chef Ben Ford’s entrepreneurial spirit moved him to open Chadwick in 1999, where he was able to marry his rich professional experience with a lifetime of personal commitment to organics and artisanal culinary sensibilities. Chadwick’s seasonal California-Mediterranean menu earned him rave reviews and national acclaim, including a coveted Three Stars from the Los Angeles Times, the first restaurant in Los Angeles to receive this high rating. Ford then created Chadwick Catering along with proteges, Vincent Dotolo and Jon Shook, Executive Chefs at Animal Restaurant and Son of a Gun.
Chef Ford has drawn inspiration from his mother, Mary Ford, a fine cook and illustrator, and from his father, actor Harrison Ford, a skilled craftsman and artist of great integrity. A father of two and devoted family man, Chef Ford makes time for several charitable culinary events each year. He launched a garden at Farragut Elementary School in Culver City, dedicated to teaching students about planting and harvesting an organic garden. He held the respected honor of being a Chef Chair for Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation: Los Angeles, an annual culinary festival benefiting Share Our Strength-sponsored food banks in Los Angeles, with the goal of ending childhood hunger in America.
Chef Ford also devotes time to the LA Mission, which strives to be a world leader among missions that provide for the poor, restore the addicted, and reduce homelessness. In honor of LA Mission’s 75th Anniversary, Chef Ford created and prepared a Christmas meal for over 5,000 homeless people and families in downtown Los Angeles.
In 2013, Chef Ford was honored by being part of the newly-created American Chef Corps, a program of the US Department of State – a network of chefs from across the United States who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State.
Ford’s Filling Station opened its second location, in the LAX Delta Terminal, during October 2013. Chef Ford will open his third location at the Marriott LA Line in 2014.