Originally from Kent in the south east of England, Benjamin started his cooking career later than most. Trained as a manufacturing engineer, he began travelling throughout Australia in 2003 and fell in love with the quality, freshness and diversity of the produce. Benjamin began working in some of Melbourne’s most elite restaurants: Greville Bar in Prahran; a warehouse function venue in South Yarra; a Greek restaurant in Port Melbourne; the Otway Coast; Seven:am; and Windsor’s Hoo Haa Bar & Restaurant. Eventually the hills of the Dandenong Ranges called, and Benjamin moved to Emerald in 2012 and married his wife at Forest Edge in Gembrook in early 2013. So impressed with the restaurant, Benjamin is now their head chef.

Benjamin is known by his nickname of ‘Didjipom’, earned in early Oz travelling days because he developed a passion for Aboriginal culture, learned didgeridoo making and plays quite well. With regards to chef inspiration, Benjamin cites Spencer Patrick from Harrisons in Port Douglas as visionary with outstanding ethics.

Position: head chef at Forest Edge, private chef, hospitality consultant and cooking tutor