February 2020 Chef of the Month- Benjamin Kal

serving-looks-pose-wine-cheese-1We’re happy to introduce our amazing February Chef of the Month, Benjamin Kal! Chef Benjamin currently operates a high- end French Chalet in San Diego that offers breakfast, dinner & private cooking classes. Although based in San Diego, Chef Benjamin is also a private gourmet travel chef and travels all over to share his fantastic food. Chef Benjamin didn’t always want to be a chef, but he found his calling when he least expected it. His story is inspirational, and we’re excited to share it with you!

 
  1. Where were you born? Mesopotamia
  2. Where do you work and where are you based? I operate a high end 4-story French Chalet exclusive stay called “The Chamber House” in San Diego, offering breakfast and dinner, as well as private cooking classes 4 days a week. Although I am based in San Diego, I travel everywhere, local and across state lines as a Private Gourmet Chef for small and large functions. The Chamber House maintains a 92% occupancy rate and I am booked nearly two months out. I also hold a Five-Star rating in three categories: Food, Hospitality and Experience. You can find me on Instagram @chefbenjaminepicure
  3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes? A Spoon. Believe it or not, I use all parts of a Spoon when plating and certainly creating abstract and ornate designs. I utilize handle, the back, the neck, the bowl, the tip and even the inside. Each part gives me the desired outcome and whether I am pouring, shaping, smashing or spreading sauces and purees, I must have my trusted and handy spoon nearby.
  4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses? Being an Artist first and foremost, I consider sight as being my sharpest attribute. The nexus between universal beauty and the endorphins that the receiver of my dishes gain is in and of itself the magic and secret behind my success as a Chef, humbly.
  5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs? Being a Chef isn’t something you choose. I truly believe that it chooses you. It’s not enough that food is your passion or that art is your calling. It’s beyond—it’s enchanting and addictive, spiritual and philosophical, pragmatic and absurd. Somewhere in that, it finds you, let it I say, if you’re the few lucky ones.
  6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect? Know the basics. Forget trying to be impressive with fancy dishes, colors and abstract. Make an egg or a burger. Embrace the classical rudimentary food techniques.
  7. What does being a good Chef mean to you? Being a Chef actually saved my life. I didn’t always want to be a Chef, food was not a passion of mine, nor was it something I thought about. Growing up, my level and interest in cooking was essentially nonexistent. It wasn’t until a minor time ago where I unknowingly suffered from depression and triggering levels of anxiety. I was in a different job, a completely unrelated career accompanied by arguably the most toxic environment one could be in. I would describe my state of mind at that time as that of traveling on a freeway tied up in the back seat of a car, desperately attempting to get noticed by all the cars passing, yet I cannot scream and when I do, they cannot hear me. Voiceless, nonexistent and living anticlimactic. I was, you can say in a very, very dark place. One day, I ended up at a Korean Market, I was drawn in by the large crowd and then gravitated to the array of colors, cooking components, and all the crustaceans galore. Without having any cooking experience, technique or skill I purchased ingredients. I don’t know why or for what. I still remember however, I purchased Quail, Rabbit, Octopus and Japanese Parrot Fish and various garnishes as well. I had never tasted, let alone prepared such exotic proteins before. When I got home, I remember being in a trance; a heightened sense of mindfulness hijacked my calm state of being. Without recipe or training, I went onto create 3 high-end Gourmet Dishes. I know that readers will find this hard to believe and trust me, as unbelievable as you find it, I find it even more so. It was such a spellbound moment that I was convinced there was something wrong with me. Soliciting the help of my siblings who are doctors, I frantically sought answers to these mystical questions. How was I able to create such works of art? Where is this coming from? How am I able to know these unlearned techniques? How is it that I tapped into this sphere in my brain? In short, rewriting my brain in such a way that shocked those around me. Likened to cases where people rise out of a Coma or experienced brain trauma and suddenly speak another language or having an accent in their native language or waking up one day spectacularly playing an instrument. Believe me, I am not complaining, and my wife certainly isn’t. We both view this as a gift, albeit unexplained and organic. My life you can say, is simply extraordinary.
  8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit? Form fitting, there is nothing like a well-tailored outfit.
  9. Favorite ingredient to work with? Eggs
  10. Favorite City to dine out in? Chicago
  11. Best Dish you have ever made? The first dish I ever made, sliced Duck Breast over veggies and topped with a thick Cherry Reduction.
  12. What you like to eat most often on your days off? Chateaubriand.
  13. Person you would most like to cook for? My wife, she is one of the best food critics I know, she is a fantastical foodie.
  14. What made you decide to become a chef? The universe aligned itself in such a way that I didn’t decide. It made the decision for me.
Connect with our February Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefbenjaminepicure

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One Comment on “February 2020 Chef of the Month- Benjamin Kal”

  1. Chef Tyler Sterns February 5, 2020 at 12:32 pm #

    I actually took Benjamin’s class. He helped me elevate my skills in playing and colors, something I lack. Chef Benjamin is an artist who understands flavors and colors. He is amazing to watch. Proud of you.

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