Executive Chef / Proprietor
Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, CA
Renowned chef and restaurateur, Chef Ben Ford is known not only for his creative techniques, but also for his innate understanding of the ingredients in his dishes, which celebrate the cycle of life and freshness of the earth. His guest 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 have afforded him the opportunity to teach his sustainable, craft-driven philosophy to cooking.
Chef Ford earned his kitchen stripes at distinguished Los Angeles-area institutions: The Farm of Beverly Hills, Opus, and Campanile. After his acclaimed Chadwick in Beverly Hills, he decided to return to his basics. Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City is the first regional American “gastropub” along with The Spotted Pig in NYC, which is based on the fundamentals of cooking, teaching, and foraging. Ford is an urban forager who frequently finds the ingredients of his dishes in the hillsides of Los Angeles and his home. He innovatively utilizes them to prove that truly good food doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Both Michelin and Zagat recommended, Ford’s Filling Station received two and a half stars from the Los Angeles Times within the first month of opening. Six years later, it continues to receive high praise from print and online media and critics.
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, where he gained enormous inspiration from the Slow Food movement of Europe. When Ford returned to the States, he studied culinary arts at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.
To further sharpen his talents, he joined Alice Waters, one of the country’s finest organic chefs, at the famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, and then 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 Ben Ford returned to Los Angeles and honed his traditional French-cooking techniques as Sous Chef at Eberhard Mueller’s Opus in Santa Monica. After completing tenures at the venerable Los Angeles restaurants Campanile and Eclipse, he was named Executive Chef and created the concept The Farm of Beverly Hills. Here, 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 finally able to marry his rich professional experience with a lifetime of personal commitment to organics and artisanal sensibilities in the kitchen. 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 protégés, Vincent Dotolo and Jon Shook, Executive Chefs at Animal Restaurant and Son of a Gun.
Chef Ben 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, he still finds time for several charitable culinary events. He launched a garden at Farragut Elementary School in Culver City, which is 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, whose goal is the ending of childhood hunger in America.
Chef Ford also lends his time to the LA Mission, which strives to be a world leader among missions that provide for the poor, restore the addicted, and eliminate homelessness. In honor of LA Mission’s 75th Anniversary, Chef Ford created and prepared a Christmas meal for over 5000 homeless in downtown Los Angeles.
In 2013, Ford’s Filling Station opened its second location in the Delta Terminal at LAX. Chef Ford was given the honor of being part of the newly-created American Chef Corps, which is a network of chefs from across the United States who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State.
Today, Ford’s first cookbook titled Taming The Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Manual to Adventurous Cooking, planned to be released in 2014, focuses on adventurous outdoor cooking and festive events.
Director of Operations / Proprietor
Ford’s Filling Station, Culver City, CA
Although her roots are in Texas, it is no surprise that Emily Ford found her way to Los Angeles and became the “Head Bee Keeper” at Ford’s Filling Station. She has had a strong culinary curiosity since early childhood and enjoyed investigating expeditions in her grandmother’s garden. She not only developed an interest in plants and vegetables, but an interest in what you could do with them in the kitchen. This fascination, coupled with her family’s worldwide explorations into various countries, cultures and foods, translated into an appreciation for everything from hut to haute cuisine. In turn, this sparked her desire to create community and develop a way to maintain it over the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table.
After completing her BA at Trinity University in San Antonio, in marketing and finance, Emily quickly discovered the creative marketing side of business was her strong suit. She took these skills to Texas Nonprofits—a statewide online resource center for the philanthropic community—to organize their funding efforts and refine and develop their research tools into an impressive searchable database.
Then she took her refined skills back into the restaurant business and kitchen where her passions were strongest. At Sushi Zushi in Texas, Emily assisted Al Pomita in the launch of his first restaurant, which grew into a chain of eight quality sushi bars and restaurants. Soon after this satisfying experience, she found her way to Los Angeles, where she currently works at Ford’s Filling Station as the Director of Operations.
Working beside Chef Ford over the past six years, Emily’s committed mission has been to anticipate their customers’ needs and provide them with an enjoyable, exhilarating and memorable restaurant experience. She finds the diversity of clientele and the nightly opportunity to throw yet another sensational party a satisfying challenge. Her passionate approach is to focus on even the smallest detail, in order to create an exceptional result night after night. Emily’s enthusiasm, forward thinking, and lighthearted approach have worked to build the culture of the restaurant and sustain its primary goal—community!
A loving mother of two, Emily has chosen to donate considerable time to charitable food events and education, including the launch of an organic garden at Farragut Elementary School in Culver City, which is dedicated to teaching students about planting and harvesting healthy foods, and the LA Mission, which strives to be a world leader among missions that provide for the poor and those with addictions and helps to eliminate homelessness. Emily currently sits on the Board of The Fernando Pullum School of Performing Arts, and served on the DineLA Advisory Board as well as the Culver City Chamber of Commerce Board.