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Above & Beyond: Ben Kingsley

Egypt Valley Sous Chef, Ben Kingsley, has been in restaurants and kitchens his whole working career.

Learn why he’s passionate about the work he does and what he’s up to when he’s not cooking up a storm for members.

How long have you worked at Egypt Valley?
Officially, 10 seasons. This year will be my 11th season.

How did you start your career as a Chef? What’s your favorite part of the job?
I actually started when I was 15 as a busser and was moved into the kitchen at age 16. Before Egypt Valley, I worked as a cook for Gilmore Restaurants. Once taking my position at Egypt Valley, I was promoted to Sous Chef and have loved working in this position ever since. My favorite part of being a Sous Chef is the actual cooking. I’m able to cook every night and for every event. Although I have other responsibilities such as writing the nightly features and operating the kitchen for the Valley Room, being in the kitchen and making the actual food is the best part of my job.

What’s your favorite thing to cook?
I wouldn’t say there’s one thing I specifically love to cook. However, my favorite thing to do with food is take something that’s undesirable and make it desirable. It might be a lesser or cheaper cut of beef, a normal sandwich, potatoes, etc. I love to take those normally boring or lesser foods and add ingredients to spice it up and make it much more desirable. I think that’s why I am so passionate about reducing waste—you can always use what you have to make something great!

Which event is your favorite to work during the year?
Valentine’s Day! Honestly, because it’s nice to not have worked directly in the kitchen for six weeks and jump right back into it. The entire staff is excited to be back and come together to have a successful night for our members.

What’s the most interesting part of your position?
I’m the only staffer that stays overnight on Thanksgiving and cooks all of the to-go orders. I’m usually at the club by myself from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. cooking everything from turkeys, to quarts of mashed potatoes, to gravy. I’ll usually be using seven ovens at once cooking 22 turkeys at a time while also cooking up to 50 pounds of mashed potatoes. This year, I cooked 16 whole turkeys, 16 whole hens, 46 pounds of ham and 66 quarts of mashed potatoes—and that was just for the to-go orders! That doesn’t even include our member brunch.

What are your hobbies outside of Egypt Valley?
Outside of work, I really enjoy being able to cook with my son and daughter. They like making fun and different things as a family and it’s so great to involve them in something I’m so passionate about. We also love going camping and being in the outdoors in general!

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