Born in Los Angeles, Chef Ben Diaz has always been fascinated with cooking. He remembers walking on the beach to dig up clams and enjoying the aromas and sounds at the Long Beach fish market. His father, an accomplished chef, would prepare breakfast while Ben watched carefully. “Seeing the passion my dad had for his craft really inspired me” says Chef Diaz.
Chef Diaz is a graduate of the prestigious California School of Culinary Arts and a coveted freelance chef and consultant. He has been inducted into the Les Amis d’Escoffier Society, Cambridge Who’s Who of Culinary Professionals and World Master Chefs Society. He holds several certifications and has worked alongside the world’s top chefs as a member of the Los Angeles Chefs de Cuisine Association. He is the published author of From a Cook to a Professional Chef, and is on the culinary council board for Basil Magazine. An avid competitor, Chef Diaz has won several awards and appeared on television programs Chef Wanted, Cutthroat Kitchen and Farmer’s Market Flip. He still finds time in his busy schedule to work with local charities, most notably the Boys and Girls Club of San Gabriel and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Irvine.
Currently the Executive Chef at Napa Valley Grille, Chef Diaz serves up a phenomenal Pacifico Bass with saffron scented cous cous, dates, kombucha squash puree and espelette. Local sustainability is one of the major factors he takes into consideration when purchasing seafood. Chef Diaz also recommends using the whole product. He often sees valuable pieces of seafood thrown away because they have too many bones or are hard to clean. Chef Diaz says, “the best way to use fish with bones is to embrace it.” He turned a large Halibut with thick bones and turned them into amazing Halibut ribs by roasted the fish and glazing it with a guava barbeque.
Chef Ben has been working with Santa Monica Seafood since 2003. He remarks, “The whole SMS family is incredible. The knowledge they possess and the willingness to go that extra mile for you is incredible.”
Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Avenue, #100
Los Angeles, CA 90024