Q&A with Chef Ben Ferguson
What is your favorite dish to cook and what is you favorite dish to eat?
My favorite dish to make is ratatouille. Ratatouille is a stew of zucchini, squash, peppers and tomato. I enjoy cooking this because it involves all fresh ingredients and is a great way to capture their amazing flavors. of the fresh ingredients. My favorite dish I have ever eaten in Des Moines is the duck at Abla. It is out of this world. The perfect mix of sweet, salty, fatty, crunchy. It is amazing.
What is something nobody knows about you that they probably should? Something that many people do not know about me is that I know how to play the bagpipes. My family is original from Scotland and I thought it would be a great way to pay homage to my relatives by learning to play bag pipes.
What is the most important thing you learned at the DMACC Culinary Institute? The most important thing or I should say most memorable thing I remember from DMACC is a conversation I had with my instructor Chef Lori Dowey. I remember at one of the many gourmet meals DMACC held, I had been preparing the food and Chef Dowey came over to talk to me. I had been there all day working my fingers to the bone and was exhausted. She looked at me and said “Stop taking this cooking thing so seriously.” I did not understand what she meant at the time because it was a huge deal to me. But now I can say I understand what she means. In all seriousness preparing food is not the end of the world; if something does not turn out the way it is supposed to, there is always another way to fix it.
What are you looking forward the most as Executive Chef at the Hotel Pattee? I am looking forward to working with the community in Perry. As the Executive Chef at Hotel Pattee, I will have a great opportunity to work with the community to drum up support for the community and the hotel.
What was the inspiration for the Lit By the Sun meal for this Sunday? My inspiration for this Lit by the Sun menu was southern cooking. Being that the artist is from Nashville I found it fitting to feature menu items from his neck of the woods. Southern food features amazing amount of flavor and a lot of soul. Down south a major ingredients is love in their cooking and it shows through.
What are your main influences for becoming a Chef? My main influences for being a chef are my family and my desire to give it my all. In this position I find that there are massive amounts of opportunity to give 110% and still more. Being in the kitchen is an amazing feeling. A favorite quote of mine is translated from a French proverb, “to your kitchen, facing your oven’s inferno, I sometimes discover paradise on Earth.”
Jay Hartz, owner.