Ben Boeynaems

Ben started working in kitchens even before he left school, working at a local 2 rosette hotel on weekends and an amazing butcher in Hampton Court. The moment he finished school he was offered a full-time job and an apprenticeship placement. After this, he went to work for the Gordon Ramsay Group at Petrus and was part of the opening team at Claridge’s Hotel. Ben then worked at a restaurant called McClements in Twickenham before moving on to work for Eric Chavot at 2* Capital Hotel. He was also part of the opening team at Galvin at Windows with André Garrett, Chris Galvin and Bryn Williams. His next move was to work for Shay Cooper at the 1* Bingham in Richmond leaving there as sous chef to go The Goring Hotel. He was head chef when it was awarded 1 Michelin star, a time which he describes as his most memorable working day.

Ben is currently working as head chef of the Zetter Group, looking after the food offering for the three properties in the collection. The diversity of each day has to be one of the best things about being a chef for Ben. From creating dishes, sourcing the best ingredients, discovering new techniques, training, mentoring and developing a team, but ultimately doing something that he loves. He wanted to be a chef for as long as he can remember.  

Ben credits his parents for being the greatest inspiration for his working life because without instilling their work ethic and discipline he would not have had the foundation to do what he currently does. 

The National Chef of the Year competition is something which Ben has always wanted to do but for one reason or another never entered. This year he felt ready to compete. When his name was called out as a finalist, Ben said it was an amazing feeling and still hasn’t truly sunk in. Winning would be an incredible achievement and without doubt, a career defining moment for him. Ben says to succeed in this industry you need to have tenacity, determination, focus, discipline, work ethic and passion. The three phrases he would use to describe his cooking style are ingredient-led, seasonal and classic-based.  

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