Sylvain, New Orleans
A native of rural Maryland, Ben McCauley’s grandmother has been a driving force behind his style of cooking. Due to her influence, Ben has always had a love for fresh, local ingredients and grew many of them in his backyard through his childhood and adolescence. Ben pursued his love for cooking by moving first to Charleston, SC, where he cut his teeth under The Godfather of low country cuisine, Chef Frank Lee. From there he would move to New Orleans to work under Chefs Rick Tramanto and John Folse, gathering a wealth of knowledge about Cajun cooking and butchering.
Ben was then given the opportunity to work with Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston. The Underbelly team garnered a James Beard Award for their revolving menu centered on using local farms and the variety of culinary influences on offer in Houston. Ben was later recruited to work with award-winning Chef Alon Shaya, from whom he learned about Israeli and Italian cuisines. His list of culinary mentors, all of whom have had a significant impact on Southern cuisine, taught Ben a lot about what he wanted to be when he eventually helmed his own kitchen.