Executive Chef, CUT and CUT Lounge by Wolfgang Puck
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2014
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Current
- Spago Beverly Hills, WP24 by Wolfgang Puck at Ritz-Carlton LA Live; The Source by Wolfgang Puck, Washington DC
- Bachelor’s Degree, Hotel and Restaurant Management, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Culinary Institute of America, Greystone
- Thousand Oaks, California, USA
- English, Spanish
Cooking means something different to everyone. For some, it is a new and exciting adventure each time they cook. For others, it is a passion. Some perceive it as an ancient and cherished art that has been passed down for generations. Some people will even describe it as the love of their life. For the Executive Chef of CUT and CUT Lounge by Wolfgang Puck at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, Ben Small, it is simply a dream come true. This is evident in the way he describes his career, “It is an ever-changing field filled with vast possibilities, and the ability to constantly learn and grow.”
Just like a delicious dish must have all the perfect ingredients, Ben Small had the perfect combination of credentials that helped him quickly rise to success. He graduated from California State Polytechnic University with a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, and attended the Culinary Institute of America in Greystone. Small committed all of his education to this industry because he knew from the very beginning that cooking was his destiny. “My interest in cooking started at a young age, maybe six or seven. I was standing on a stool with my Nonni making apple pie,” Small recalls. “That’s when I started being intrigued by food, and that passion has continued to grow as my knowledge of food has evolved.”
Small began his career in California at Spago Beverly Hills, WP24 by Wolfgang Puck, Ritz-Carlton LA Live. Then he moved to Washington DC to work at The Source by Wolfgang Puck. In July 2014, he made the biggest move of all when he called the Kingdom of Bahrain his new home as he joined the new Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay team. For most people, this decision would be quite daunting, but in Small’s eyes, it was a potentially rewarding opportunity. “The chance to be part of this fantastic project was what opened the door for me in Bahrain. One of the biggest benefits is immersing myself in a new culture and broadening myself professionally and personally,” he explains. “The ability to travel and see new places and interact with people from all over the world really excites me.”
Just like any other great undertaking, this one did not come about without both its challenges and rewards. While this may not be the biggest operation that Small has ever dealt with, it is certainly one of the most memorable ones. “I have not been a part of a project that was filled with as much luxury, exclusivity or sheer beauty as Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay. This project really is something special and second to none. While there is some level of anxiety involved in opening a property on this scale, the immense level of excitement outweighs the anxiety,” says Small.
Given Small’s vast expertise, he offers his key to success, “Consistently maintaining a high level of quality is the key to any culinary operation, and the quality of product the team is capable of putting together is awe-inspiring.” Small has high expectations of his culinary team and believes that their expertise will help the team achieve the highest standard of service.
Small is willing to dedicate his time to perfecting his skill because he believes cooking is a personal journey, not just a professional career. “I love asking people about foods their parents or grandparents cooked while they were growing up, and what food invokes the memory of home or their childhood,” he explains. “Those are the dishes I want to learn how to make because I enjoy connecting with people on this level.” Small also needs time for himself to make his own connections and find his culinary inspirations. He loves to wander around to random places looking for exotic foods and new ingredients.
His curiosity and constant search for new foods has caused him to wander all the way to the Kingdom of Bahrain.