Ben's culinary creativity is rooted in a strong connection to a family tradition of cooking and sharing food. His career began in California, taking him from his San Jose roots to Mendocino County where he learned how to utilize edible flowers and herbs. He moved to Maui, where he trained with Roy Yamaguchi’s top pastry chef and learned more about the special qualities of Sourdough, a starter-based bread that shares his Bay Area origins.
He moved on to catering and tableside chef positions in Hawaii and then joined the Longhi family business (a true from-scratch kitchen), first as a pastry chef, then as head of the kitchen. This experience fueled his curiosity further and led him to study at the Maui Culinary Academy.
When Ben moved to Texas to be closer to family, he was invited to launch the food program at Travaasa Austin and has creatively and innovatively guided it from its beginnings through its transition to Miraval Austin. His unique approach to food aligns perfectly with Miraval’s philosophy of producing and offering healthy, organic, sustainably sourced food that is both nourishing and delicious. He is energized to work with on-site farmer, Kim Chalfant, with whom he developed the farm and food program from start to finish.
Ben has a big heart that guides the Miraval kitchens and culinary programs, but also warms his community. His home’s front patio has become an on-site baking space for neighbors to gather, make tasty treats, and create the conviviality that comes with the sharing of food and family.