Ford’s Filling Station is an innovative American gastropub. We provide a welcoming atmosphere in an unpretentious room that endures as a subtle background for amazing food and wine. It’s a classic space centrally located to the community and surrounded by theaters, movie studios and galleries.
Gastropubs revel in what is unexpected and being a little better than expected is an intrigue part of the gastropub experience. This cognitive approach has helped broaden our concept and draw those people most interested in the art of the restaurant and great food.
The original British gastropubs were unfettered by culinary categories and cheerfully served whatever they desired; British, French, Italian, Indian, even American cuisine, in a welcoming atmosphere. The gastropub is a concept with a lot of freedom, plain and simple, and as such is open to interpretation. Without the traditional pubs and their rich history, the U.S. can only import the idea behind it, but that’s appealing enough because in truly American style, it’s the freedom we as creative people are after.
In 2006, we opened Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, aiming for a similar combination of a comfortable pub-like attitude that serves exciting, seasonal food. We came with the intention of creating a concept for the people of the community. Ford’s Filling Station is designed to be casual, open and familiar, the room is full of artifacts from Chef Ben’s life, his books are on the shelves, and his music plays on the stereo. It’s a soulful space, a place of substance to come and revive the senses and refuel the mind, body and sprit. The “Filling Station” metaphor and our slogan “Fuel No Gas” are representative of a place to come to fill up on all the good things in life.
Renowned chef and restaurateur, Chef Benjamin Ford is known not only for his creative techniques, but also for his innate understanding of the ingredients in his dishes, which celebrate the cycle of life and freshness of the earth. His guest appearances on Iron Chef America, The Today Show, Martha Stewart, After Hours with Daniel Boulud, Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Supper Club with Tom Bergeron, and The Food Network Sandwich Challenge have afforded him the opportunity to teach his sustainable, craft-driven philosophy to cooking. Chef Ford earned his kitchen stripes at distinguished Los Angeles-area institutions: The Farm of Beverly Hills, Opus, and Campanile. After his acclaimed Chadwick in Beverly Hills, he decided to return to his basics. Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City is the first regional American “gastropub” along with The Spotted Pig in NYC, which is based on the fundamentals of cooking, teaching, and foraging. Ford is an urban forager who frequently finds the ingredients of his dishes in the hillsides of Los Angeles and his home. He innovatively utilizes them to prove that truly good food doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Both Michelin and Zagat recommended, Ford’s Filling Station received two and a half stars from the Los Angeles Times within the first month of opening. Six years later, it continues to receive high praise from print and online media and critics. Chef Ford’s epicurean journey began after he left the University of Southern California to study at the University of Dijon in the heart of Burgundy, France, where he gained enormous inspiration from the Slow Food movement of Europe. When Ford returned to the States, he studied culinary arts at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. To further sharpen his talents, he joined Alice Waters, one of the country’s finest organic chefs, at the famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, and then at the Skywalker Ranch where he helped run three on-site concept restaurants catering to the working community of Lucas Arts, Lucas Films, and THX. Chef Ben Ford returned to Los Angeles and honed his traditional French-cooking techniques as Sous Chef at Eberhard Mueller’s Opus in Santa Monica. After completing tenures at the venerable Los Angeles restaurants Campanile and Eclipse, he was named Executive Chef and created the concept The Farm of Beverly Hills. Here, he perfected his flavorful, earthy cuisine and became skilled in the operations of running a restaurant. Chef Ben Ford’s entrepreneurial spirit moved him to open Chadwick in 1999, where he was finally able to marry his rich professional experience with a lifetime of personal commitment to organics and artisanal sensibilities in the kitchen. Chadwick’s seasonal California-Mediterranean menu earned him rave reviews and national acclaim, including a coveted Three Stars from the Los Angeles Times, the first restaurant in Los Angeles to receive this high rating. Ford then created Chadwick Catering along with protégés, Vincent Dotolo and Jon Shook, Executive Chefs at Animal Restaurant and Son of a Gun. Chef Ben Ford has drawn inspiration from his mother, Mary Ford, a fine cook and illustrator, and from his father, actor Harrison Ford, a skilled craftsman and artist of great integrity. A father of two and devoted family man, he still finds time for several charitable culinary events. He launched a garden at Farragut Elementary School in Culver City, which is dedicated to teaching students about planting and harvesting an organic garden. He held the respected honor of being a Chef Chair for Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation: Los Angeles, an annual culinary festival benefiting Share Our Strength-sponsored food banks in Los Angeles, whose goal is the ending of childhood hunger in America. Chef Ford also lends his time to the LA Mission, which strives to be a world leader among missions that provide for the poor, restore the addicted, and eliminate homelessness. In honor of LA Mission’s 75th Anniversary, Chef Ford created and prepared a Christmas meal for over 5000 homeless in downtown Los Angeles. Today, Ford’s first cookbook, planned to be released at the beginning of 2014, focuses on adventurous outdoor cooking and festive events.