About Ben

Hi, there!  I’m Ben.  You probably saw me on Fox’s MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay.  I assume that, because you found this page, you’d like to know a bit more about my background…so here goes!

Gordon Ramsay playfully strangles Ben Starr behind the scenes on MasterChef

Gordon playfully strangles me the night I get eliminated from MasterChef

I was born in San Antonio, Texas on July 14…that’s Bastille Day for those of you who know French history, and it’s also the anniversary of the day Billy the Kid was gunned down by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Lincoln, New Mexico.

I grew up in Abilene, Texas, which is a relatively small city about 3 hours west of Dallas, basically in the middle of nowhere.  I lived on what you might consider to be a small farm, surrounded by sheep, pigs, goats, and chickens.

I started learning to cook at age 4 when I took an interest in the way my grandmother, Meemaw, was making toast in the oven.  (We were too poor to own a toaster oven, especially when the main oven did the exact same thing.)  I demanded that she teach me, so she took out a loaf of stale bread and a stick of margarine (don’t ever eat margarine, by the way, it’s all trans fat) and she set me to practicing.  About an hour later she was walking by the kitchen when she heard me bragging to myself, “Who ever heard of a 4-year-old making toast?”

Ben Starr in Spooky Gulch Slot in Utah

In the depths of Spooky Gulch, hidden deep in Utah's canyon lands

I like to think I’m a little more humble about my cooking these days, but I have learned a lot since I was four.  Both my grandmothers and my mom were housewives and cooked 3 meals a day, so by the time I left for college, I was pretty skilled in the delicate art of Southern cooking.  After a few years of college, I accidentally stumbled into a job as a travel agent and started roaming the world.  But I found it more fulfilling to stay with local families, rather than in hotels, and this is how I learned to cook a variety of foods from other cultures.

To date, I’ve tromped across more than 40 countries on all 7 continents.  I’ve crawled through water-filled caves into tiny chambers filled with skeletons in Central America.  I’ve frolicked with tens of thousands of penguins and swam in hot springs with elephant seals in Antarctica.  I’ve been in car wrecks on the Sinai peninsula and been rescued by Bedouins on camelback.  In 2007 I appeared four times on The Rachael Ray Show, in the summer of 2009 I appeared on season 1 of HGTV’s All American Handyman with Mike Holmes, and in the summer of 2011 I appeared on the season 2 of Fox’s MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay.  I grow my own vegetables and fruit.  I brew my own beer and wine.  I cure meat and make aged cheeses. And I have a flock of free range chickens in my suburban back yard.  Hiking, canoeing, and caving (cave exploring or “spelunking”) are my hobbies.  I reside in Lewisville, Texas, (a suburb of Dallas) with my partner of 11+ years.

Ben Starr Giant Pumpkin Signature Ingredient

Hugging my favorite ingredient at a rural festival near Seattle

I am extremely concerned about our country’s move toward industrialized agriculture and nation-wide distribution over the past 30 years.  I am a die-hard fan of local family farms which sell to local grocery stores, rather than having your arugula trucked 1,500 miles from California’s central valley…of eating foods seasonally (you don’t need fresh peaches or asparagus in February, people, they’re being shipped all the way from Chile!)…of bolstering our local economies by supporting local family farms rather than massive industrial farms 10 states over…moving away from the “Certified Organic” logo which has become utterly corrupted by powerful mega-farm lobbies and is out of the reach of most family farms and certainly no longer means organic…focusing on sustainability and good animal and land husbandry rather than obsessing over the term “organic.”  I am deeply disturbed that this generation of children (and, in fact, virtually all city dwellers of any age) have little or no connection to the food chain and are suspicious of anything that does not come wrapped in a box to be microwaved or received through the window of a fast-food chain.  I can’t be distilled into the common conceptions of a “tree hugger” or a “hippie.”  I am the new generation of concerned individual who realizes that we can’t keep producing food the way we’re doing it without eventually poisoning ourselves and our children and our planet.

My dream is to open a small, sustainable, off-grid guest farm on the Big Island of Hawaii where people can come and learn where their food comes from, see how meat animals can be raised with care and respect, see how easy it is to leave the grid and produce your own electricity and water practically for free, and to enjoy eating the freshest food and drinking the most delicious microbrew they’ve ever had.  Click here for more info, if you’d like to get involved.

I am the wealthiest person I know.  Not from money, for I have almost none of that.  My life is rich because I have the most fascinating and devoted friends, fans, and family of anyone I know.  Without them, I’m nothing.

Ben Starr and his backyard flock of urban chickens

90 Responses to About Ben

  1. Happy Birthday Ben! Surprisingly wanted to watch the new season of MasterChef on Hulu. I recalled you as my favorite contestant on Season 2 with much devotion towards cooking for yourself and for others. I can’t cook for dear life (lol) but it is inspiring when watching you focus on cooking. Read your bio and realized today is your birthday. Best of wishes. Also wanted to say please keep doing what you are doing and go for your dream(s).

    • Hi, Edna! I’m so glad you discovered my website. Your birthday wishes are definitely appreciated. Welcome to our little community on the web!

  2. b-day??? i missed it! i hope you had a nice time Ben. I still long to see you back on tv, documentary serie maybe, that would be fun. sending you hugs and fireworks!

  3. Hi Ben,
    I have been watching season 3 of MC and been following Christine on Facebook. It was in her blog that I found this link! I so enjoyed watching you in season 2.
    After reading just a bit about you here, I LOVE how you encourage people to comment. I am not one who feels comfortable leaving comments but you are right – I want to tell you how much I admire what you do!
    Both my parents grew up on family farms in North Dakota and I had the pleasure of spending my summers there. Keep up doing what you are doing!!!!

    • Hi, Mara! Thanks so much for commenting. I really want to build a community here on my website, so please visit often and comment liberally! I have learned through email from my site that many of my fans don’t have Facebook and can’t participate in the dynamic conversations I have there with my fans, so I want my site to be as conversational and welcoming as possible. *hugs*

  4. Love everything about you and your vision! Keep up with all your awesomeness!

  5. Oh Ben you are eliminated just now in Masterchef USA episodes here in Italy!
    Don’t spoiler but i hope that Christian don’t win! I never seen a so big Ego with a person attached!

    • Hi, Sergio! I won’t spoil the ending for you. But I will tell you that Christian is probably my BEST friend from the show. The way he seems on TV isn’t like the way he is in real life. He is an amazing guy, so friendly and devoted and kind and caring. I love Christian! I’ve traveled across the US to visit him twice and stay in his home, and he has visited me in my home, and he has gone on a trip to Hawaii with me to cook for homeless kids. He is a great guy!

      • Really I’m happy that Christian is different like seems in tv! I understand that a TV show need some particular characters! Thanks for telling this to me! You are a great guy! :)

  6. Hello Ben,
    my name is Ksenia, I am from Russia. This summer my husband and I have been watching the MasterChef show. And we were so sad that you were not the winner. We hope all of your dreams will come true! Good luck!
    By the way we are coming to Clyde, Texas in a month. We will be in Abilene, where you grew up.
    God bless you!
    Your fans,
    Ksenia and Dima

    • Hello, Ksenia and Dima! Thanks for your kind message. What on EARTH is bringing you to Clyde, TX? Make certain when you are in Abilene to eat barbeque at Joe Allen’s. It is the best BBQ you will ever eat! Go hungry…it’s a LOT of meat!

  7. Leah McLaughlin

    Hi Ben,

    Glad I found your blog. You and many others on Master Chef have been a great inspiration to me. I’ve made lemon meringue pie, fruit tarts, etc. In other words, I’ve taken myself to places I never though I could go. I’m not a professional chef, nor have I ever worked in restraunt but I’m glad that I’m able to accomplish these things nonetheless. Plus, the compliments I get from my friends and family (in realtime or Facebook) don’t hurt either! Keep doing what you’re doing, and I can’t wait for more blog posts!

    Leah McL

    P.S. If Gordon “strangled” me I’m not sure I would ever wash my neck…haha!

  8. Hi Ben, they are replaying MasterChef here in Turkey this summer, so even though we saw the final a while back, we have been able to watch it from the beginning this time. We were cheering for you! I also love travelling… I’m Australian, but lived in Osaka for a few years, then London, Florence, and I came to Istanbul 3 years ago, where I met my husband, so we are still here. I guess you have been to Turkey? We’d love to host you if you come to visit :)

  9. Hi Ben! I loved watching you on Master Chef – your joie de vivre is infectious :-) I hope you DO get a show of your own; it would be great to watch a food show that is more than kitchen time…that celebrates Eating local and CSAs and edible landscaping and all the things that are within the grasp of the everyday person to help change our world for the better. I’m glad I found your blog!

  10. Hello :)
    I have just found your site and I thought I would leave a message :)
    Although I can’t cook at all (but I’m 14, so I still have time to learn), I love watching MasterChef, especially MasterChef US. Season 2 was by far my favorite. My favorite contestants were Derrick, Christine and you.
    I think everyone was sad when you were eliminated, you seem to be (and I’m sure you are) a very nice and funny guy and also an amazing chef. I admire you very much.
    Greetings from Romania :)

  11. Hi Ben!

    I’ve just finished watching season 2 of Masterchef and I’m afraid I’m going to miss you! Thank you for sharing your passion for food as well as your passion for life. I look forward to following you for years to come, with full confidence that your dreams will come true. I hope to enjoy your food someday- maybe in Texas or maybe on the Bis Island of Hawaii. Until then, there is a small but welcoming kitchen for you here in Toronto!

  12. Hi, Ben! I do admire you. I’m from Brazil, Rio. I like very much your manners, you’re so kind and sweet, and so funny! Thank you for sharing your good energy, full of harmony and love for life, for people. If you like knowing different food, you do come to Brazil, there are so many options of food, so many places! And I do prefer locals products, sustaintability is very important to me. You were my favorite contestant because it’s so good knowing that the cooker has a fine energy! Sorry my poor english!

    • Bom dia, Valeria! I know Brasil very well. My partner of 10 years is from Sao Paulo and we visit often. My dear friend Ana Flora from Sao Paulo is visiting me right now, sitting next to me on the couch Skyping with her family back home. My heart lives in Brasil!

  13. Que maravilha, synchronicity! Good to know! And I knew : your heart is very special! kkkkkkkk
    I live in Niterói, do you know?

  14. Hi Ben, my name is John with my girlfriend Maria Laura we all chapters of Master Chef, we live in Uruguay in South America, for that reason we are seeing today the second season of Master Chef, you will earn fervently wanted the contest how fun, simple and humble you are.
    A big salute from Uruguay

  15. Hey Ben!! Hello all the way from Athens Greece! being some trillions of drops of saltwater away from the US, I first saw you on master chef USA recaps we were watching with a friend. You really seem to be a great guy, passionate cook and unique person! really enjoyed watching the show! Keep up the good work, this planet needs more people like you man!

    I will be dropping a grandmother’s greek recipe your way soon if your interested!
    Best of regards and best of luck with your endeavors!

  16. Umm, Ben? Im a 13 year old and you inspired me to continue cooking! I absolutely adore pumpkins and the first time I saw you I thought you were gonna win masterchef! Your passion kept me going even through hard times with your smile. I wish I could meet you, but through this website, I can! I WANNA BE THE NEXT MASTERCHEF!!!! Thank you for everything!!!!!

  17. Hi Neighbor! Have been catching up on Masterchef on Hulu and loved watching you! Have signed up for Frank – Thank you so much!

  18. hi Ben, i love your fabulous laughter!!!! Warm Greetings from manila Philippines !!

  19. Natalia Mamonova

    Hi!!! When I watched master chef, you were my favourite contestant! You are so kind and funny and brought so much fun and joy to the show, and your smile always made the day brighter. You were amazing!!! I really love this website and the blog.
    I wish you best of luck in your life!
    P.S. i always loved those hats you were wearing to the show!!! :)

  20. Hi Ben,
    I just wanna say that you were one of my favourite conestant on Masterchef (i like Adrian to). You were always so passioned en funny in this program! I am from the Netherlands and today was the broadcast that you had to leave Masterchef :-( . I hoped that you would made it to the finals! Now I hope, just like you said, that Adrian will win. I wish you al the best for the future!

  21. Hi Ben,I’m Agnieszka, from Poland.I watched Masterchef and I just want to say that you were fantastico!!!!so nice,humble,full of passion!you have the great potential and talent:)I wish you all the best!!

  22. Hello Ben!

    I just watched Season 2 of MasterChef, and you were by far my favorite contestant on the show. This was partially because of your cooking, of course! I really wish I could have tried your crispy taco toppings, your shepherd’s pie, and your gorgeous layer cake! But I was also impressed with your kindness and connection with the other people around you, your enthusiasm for cooking and all your other interests, and your cheerful and generous attitude throughout the show!

    I understand that it must be difficult to convince the networks to take a gamble, but I would just like to say for the record that I am one more person who would definitely watch your show!

    I’m not a very accomplished cook but I do love food and am looking forward to trying some of your recipes, which I’ve just been browsing, and they look wonderful! I live in Japan, so some of the ingredients may be hard to come by, but thanks to your helpful suggestions of more commonplace substitutions for the more difficult-to-find ingredients, I’m confident that I can work something out!

    Just out of curiosity, what Japanese foods do you like? I’m a huge sucker for shabu-shabu, myself, and almost anything with kabocha or Japanese eggplant!

    Sorry for the long and rambling comment – I’m still just really excited and inspired after watching your season and finding your website!

    • Hi, Laura! Thanks for your very sweet comment. I do love Japanese food. I love takoyaki, yakitori, soba, and ramen. I grow Japanese eggplant in my garden, and I LOVE kabocha!!!

  23. Hi, My name is Anna, from Poland. I watched Masterchef. You are amazing, you have passion and optimism. I learned from you the joy of life and a smile. I know very little English, but anyway I want to thank for the inspiration. I understand that I can always go my own way. thank you

  24. Olá, Ben! Greetings from Portugal, the tip of Europe and Mediterranean territory!

    I’m not a big “commentary” fan or anything of the sort, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pitch in a few heartfelt words as I found this precious blog of yours.

    I’m currently watching MasterChef season 2 reruns here in Portugal and I’ve fallen in love with your optimism, sincere disposition, true love for cooking and an honest “joie de vivre” I cherish so dearly and try to replicate every day of my life.

    I laugh wholeheartedly at Chef Ramsay’s digs at your (phenomenal!) hats and commend you for staying true to your own roots, even if they bring out pumpkin-laden aprons and cow-filled hats! I think the most sincere compliment I can ever give anyone is to tell them how much they inspire me, and that’s exactly what you do.

    I must say your last sentence has particularly struck me, for I too share your views in life: we are rich in love, happiness and optimist, and that’s the true source of our wealth! I believe we leave little bits of ourselves behind on every place we visit, with everyone we come in contact with… I hope to one day travel as much as you have, and to leave little bits of myself behind to grow and mark our place on this Earth.

    God bless you, Ben, and keep cooking and inspiring many alike with your warm personality, obvious talent and funky cooking attire!

    Love always,
    Francisca xx

  25. Antonio Vigueras

    Hi Ben,

    My name is Antonio, from Madrid (Spain). I am currently watching Masterchef season 2 through Internet, and although I am not much of a participant on comments in blogs I still wanted to tell you how inspiring your passion for food is and what a a great person you are.

    I really can not stop watching Masterchef and wondering what a great experience that must have been for you, not only meeting Chef Ramsay, Chef Graham and Joe, which is a dream come true itself, but also the amazing journey that you must have experienced through the contest, all the learning from the judges and other competitors, the chance of pushing your limits and taking yourself to a complete different level in cooking.

    I am also really passionated about food, cooking all the time for my wife and my baby girl, trying new dishes, new cooking styles and learning about new ingredients, and, although that seems very far from my career choice today (CFO on an Internet company), who knows, maybe one day!

    Well, that is all I wanted to tell you by now, except that I would love to visit your restaurant whenever I go to the States! Keep being such an amazing person and get back on TV so we can see more of you.

    My best,


  26. Matilda Bonardi


  27. Really glad to hear that Christian is NOT in real life like he was edited to be! Now here’s another question- is Joe? :-)
    I would love to know more about the behind the scenes. When there were challenges, since obviously not everyone has spinach ravioli filling, pasta dough ratios and layer cake recipes memorized, were you guys given a recipe or ratio to follow? Were you allowed to read cookbooks on your off time? Were you all in one big house? How tight was security as far as contact with ‘the outside’? Could you watch TV, for example? How did you all improve from challenge to challenge (esp in the realm of presentation, which got more an more pro as time went on…)? How much ‘mentoring’ did you get from the judges (outside what we saw on the program)? It looked (many times) like Graham wanted to smile and someone told him to STOP and be more serious! Thanks a ton!
    Cheryl (in France, who just discovered Master Chef here and led me back to the US version)

  28. Natasha Diddee

    Hi Ben,
    I saw you on master chef ofcourse but had stumbled upon your blog before that! I love your passion and zest for life! It’s infectious :) don’t you think it’s time you make a trip to india? :) I can’t promise you the world but I will promise you a culinary journey that will stay with you for life :)

    • Natasha, you are so sweet…thanks so much for your message! I’d be curious to know how you stumbled onto my blog before I was on MasterChef…

      • Natasha Diddee

        I didn’t get this reply … I was browsing and found it! I’m a food addict… always trolling food related stuff… I’m a year late in responding but I’m glad I finally saw it! The offer still stands :) is there a more reliable way of communicating? I don’t seem to get notifications

    • Tasha, I’ve been to India! To the south, near Chennai. One day I hope to spend a month or two in your country. The food always astounds me, it is one of the most complex and delicious of any of the world’s cuisines!

  29. Ben if you ever come to mexico you have a friend here Remember that! Your history is such an inspiration I wanna learn to cook now haha !! Take care and if you ever come we’ll go eat some real mexican tacos so you know what you’ve been missing !! Best regards, Yair

    • Gracias, Yair! Mexican food is my hands-down favorite cuisine. I was born in San Antonio, which has a very close cultural connection to Mexico. And I am proud to live in an area of Texas that is RICH in Mexican culture…many of my neighbors emigrated from Mexico within the past 10 years, and I have 3 mercados/carnicerias within a 5 minute drive of my house, and countless taquerias and tamale stands and little restaurants that have no English on the menu. I have been to many places in Mexico…Guadalajara, Leon, Aguascalientes, Monterey/Saltillo, Baja Norte, and all over Quintana Roo. Your country is one of the most amazing on the planet, and most Americans don’t truly understand Mexico because they haven’t been beyond the border towns. I will explore Mexico much more in the future. What part of Mexico do you live in?

  30. Jerome Vinarao

    Hi Ben!

    My name is Jerome, I’m from the Philippines. I’m married with 2 kids. My wife and I saw you on masterchef on the internet and we just fell in love with your passion for food. Your enthusiasm is so refreshing! We googled your name and found this site. My wife and I love to cook and eat. We are so excited to try your recipes. The scallops with fried bananas – that is a dish we really have to make. What inspired you to make that?

    • Jerome, it’s hard to explain why I did the scallops and bananas. There were a lot of “tropical” ingredients in that mystery box. Things that reminded me of my travels in the Caribbean. One of my favorite things to eat down there is fried green plantains. They are only a little sweet, with a great texture and delicious flavor. When I saw the bananas and the scallops together, I thought…What an interesting comparison in flavors and textures. The scallops are also a little sweet, and they look like little slices of banana. It was a dangerous possibility, but I went with it. The only reason it worked was because the bananas were still very green and starchy. If they had been ripe and soft and sweet, it wouldn’t have worked. Many fans have told me they’ve made scallops and bananas since seeing it on MasterChef. If you decide to make it, let me know!

  31. I Live in Mexico city (here is my place for you to stay if u ever come), but hands down my favorite state is Guadalajara,my second family is there haha and yes I agree with you , most americans dont fully understand what Mexico is about, When you start traveling from town to town you can really find the real mexican roots and you can see that, in fact , we are a rich country in every aspect, just with a bad goverment lol, I have to say that everytime I’ve been to the USA the thing that I miss is the most is our food haha even with so many mexicans there the food just doesnt taste the same :( I blame it on the ingredients tho !

    Awesome to hear back from you! I Hope that sometime soon I can go to texas and try ur food live!

  32. Hey Ben. I just finished watching the episode in which you got eliminated from Masterchef.
    In the very first episode of that season, in the previews they showed this crazy guy in an orang hat screaming “HAHAHA I FORGOT MY SIGNATURE INGREDIENT” and I went “wow he’s insane. I love it “. And from that moment on, I was constantly rooting for you. Everytime you were in the bottom 3 and I had to wait that excruciatingly long pause between “the person leavin masterchef is..” And “…contestant blah” I was chanting and praying not-Ben-Starr not-Ben-Starr not-Ben-Starr. I was in tears when you got eliminated. It really broke my heart and I said to myself “there has to be more” so I googled you. And here I am. I know I talk a LOT but I just wanted to say how much I love your style and attitude and you! :D

    • Anam, you made me cry a little when I read this. Thank you SO much, and I’m so glad you Googled me! Welcome to this amazing little community on the web.

  33. Hi Ben,

    I’m a 23 year old dance teacher from Newfoundland, Canada. I finally came across your blog today, and I can’t even tell you how happy I am to be able to read about your adventures and love for food.

    My boyfriend and I love to watch Masterchef (we’re big lovers of food, too), and since your first moment on screen you’ve always been a favorite of ours. During your time on Masterchef we were rooting for you, and have missed you on the show since you left. Seriously, you were pretty darn amazing.

    Anyway, looking forward to checking out some of your recipes! Keep on lovin’ & cookin’!

    *virtual hugs*

  34. Happy Birthday! I was just having a marathon re-watching of your season on masterchef and after i saw you make that layer cake, i decided to look for the recipe and stumbled upon your wonderful sight! I must say that you cook from the heart and with so much joy that you inspire me to do the same! I would love to see you back on tv… But hosting a cooking show!

  35. Happy SUPER belated birthday Ben! I just found your site because I’m going backwards on MasterChef, it’s now my favorite show! But you are absolutely phenomenal, I admire you!!!

  36. Hi Ben!
    I’m a 14 year old boy that loves to cook, and I wondered if you can give me some tips how I can be a better chef. You were my favorite trough hole MasterChef :)

    • Kim, the best thing you can do to become a better chef is to study and practice. I recommend getting technique cookbooks, not just recipe cookbooks. Recommendations: The Science of Good Cooking from Cook’s Illustrated, and anything by Michael Ruhlman or Alton Brown. These books will teach you WHY food cooks, how to cook properly, and why recipes sometimes fail. It’s far more educational than following a recipe from a traditional cookbook.

    • Unfortunately I do not know much about the US educational system when it comes to learning cooking ( I am from Austria). I am a chef myself and have learned how to cook at a tourism school (from the age of 15-19). After that I have worked at our family run hotel but mainly as a waiter and bartender, later I had to do the cooking which at first I didn’t like. I consider myself a good chef at the age of 43 but I have learned some lessons. I do think that you should try and get good technique, knife work, knowing all the products, cooking methods and so on. This is the basis for me but a truly good chef is more that technique…you have to love what you are doing, be experimental, trust your instincts, be intrigued. So if it is possible to go to a school that teaches you than do it, if not there are some good books and other tv-shows that have more to offer in terms of real cooking than MC US. :)

  37. Hi Ben, I’m from Italy and I watched Materchef’s season 2 just this month.. I think you are a wonderful cook and a very hilarious person,and I just loved everything you did in Tv and what you’re doing nowadays.. Keep cooking man! :)

  38. Hello Ben,

    I’m a 23 years old girl from Romania and I’ve been watching Masterchef the last days with my boyfriend ( he is from Greece :) ).
    We are very very passionate about cooking and we want to learn more and more about this in our free time. I just wanted to say that we both became a fan of you.
    Thank you for bringing me a smile upon my face whenever I watch you and for inspiring me always. You have such an incredible energy and enthuziasm.

    Wish you the best

  39. Beth Friedman-Romell

    Hi Ben,

    My son and I were absolutely rooting for you to win Masterchef, but we are also very happy to learn more about you and especially your commitment to sustainable eating! Love your great sense of humor, too.

    Very sincerely yours,

  40. Hola Ben..Solo quiero decirte que eres una gran persona¡¡¡ eras mi personaje favorito en Master Chef. aunque no hayas ganado, se que tú merecias el premio mas que nadie¡¡ sigue así de Buena persona y también mandales un saludo de mi parte a Monti Carlo y a David..que también soy su Fan¡¡
    :D Ojala y me saludes¡¡ xD

  41. Hello Ben,
    I am so happy to have found your blog after seeing you on Masterchef (Where you without a doubt immediately became my favorite contender).After watching, and reading about you, your passion, and enthusiasm about cooking,and food, and your big heart touched something inside me, and you have without of doubt become one of my biggest inspirations, not only in the kitchen, but in life.
    I wish you all the best and hope that I one day can inspire people the way you do!

    • Emma, you are too kind. I’m so honored to have given you some inspiration. Stick around! This is a cool site with lots of amazing people on it.

  42. Love your blog and enjoyed you on season 2 of MasterChef! You have a huge personality that is simply so charming and entertaining! Good luck following your goals and reaching your dream! You are unique Ben Starr, I’m sure you will be a treasure to everyone you meet along the way! You’re a whoot, a character, and someone who shows great passion towards people as well as the food you create! Best of luck to you from Denton Texas!

  43. Hello from Amsterdam!

    I loved you on Masterchef and when i found your blog, I was thrilled!

    I am also a writer (though not as prolific as you). My first novel should come out in the next 25 years or so :) And a fellow foodie, though I’m not a great cook and a lazy one at that :)

    I just wanted to say I loved you on the show. You have such a magnetic personality, so charming and so funny and so incredibly passionate about food. And in this day and age of plastic, someone who is really real. And I love that you’ve actually visited my home country India! :) If you ever decide to go to Mumbai, you’ll get the best of Indian food, in my humble opinion. If I’m in Bombay at the time, I’ll be honoured to take you around. :)

    You, Ben, are a huge inspiration to me. Your friends and family are incredibly lucky. Your infectious positivity and your joie de vivre is incredible. I wish you much success in everything you do!


  44. Your birthdays on the same day as me lol thats awesome! awesome day for awesome people :)

  45. Hi Ben,

    Today I saw an episode of season 2 of master chef. I saw you and I thought, what a fun person to watch on television, I really liked your personality. I was hoping that you’ve won the competition but after some research I sw you don’t. But I like to read your blog and I like to read that you’ve come so far. I was really impressed by your recepies in the show, it looks so nice on the plate. I hope that I read something soon on your blog. I like your writing.


  46. Hi Ben,

    I was looking up “Where are they now?” for MC (since I am fascinated by the many different types of talented people on the show and know that we only see a hint of who they are). I found this web site and LOVE IT. Your style of writing along with your insights and life experiences are a true gift for all of us and I am deeply grateful that you share these with us all. I know that it takes time and commitment. Thank you.

    My main goal right now is to get in to eating healthy “real” food and I think that is basic to what you do. I have actually grown up as a food “addict” and usually hate food (junk food and convenience food) along with myself for eating it. My mom and grandma rarely ever cooked, and I grew up just cooking rice, potatoes, or noodles; along with anything from a bag or can. So I am learning and trying to teach my two boys. You and your friends are a great inspiration. Thank you again!


  47. Hello there from Indiana!….

    I was reading more about azodicarbonamide and found your blog very insightful. I hope I can remember some of what you wrote to help empower others to make better choices about what they are eating. Also, I am looking forward to making some bread tonight. Thank you for putting the energy into sharing the process and recipe.

    I just wanted to stop here to say I like your style and keep up the good work sir!!!

  48. Hey Ben, I am from Greece and I just finished the season 2 of masterchef that you had partecipated! I was definitely supporting you and Christian! You are amazing! I would like to learn about your news and your plans. Nice to communicate with you
    Greetings from Beautiful Athens!

  49. Ben…I just watched season 2 of masterchef and just loved your way with words and of course with food!!!im a fellow Texan (know Abilene well…I went to Texas Tech back in th ol days)and have been living in northern Germany the last 20 years!!i love this culture of food we have here in Germany …I’m trying to install healthy real food on my three little children…since I’m a unfortunetly a new single mom the money is tight,so it would be great to hear of some cheap entrees that are also a twist of being fancy …with that said its people like you and tex-mex that I miss from Texas!!!!if your ever here in Germant write me!!!!take care…Petra

  50. Thank you for the great review on the Smokehousechef stainless steel meat grinder attachment. Your review was so thorough that I am sold on purchasing the attachment for my kitchenaid. Great!!!

  51. I read on your blog about making your own fridge for aging meat and cheese. Are there recipes you use that you have just, you know, laying around? (I skipped over the electrical wiring section, oops). How expensive is it to do without having your own pigs or livestock? I live on the border of Detroit (Redford),MI. We do have eastern market which is great for local stuff. But chickens and pigs aren’t exactly plentiful in our backyards. Right now I’m reading everything possible on charcuterie and beer and wine making (reading is the best I’ve got right now because I have epilepsy and don’t drive, among other stuff). I just want to know it all

    • Amanda, I use the recipes in the books Charcuterie and Salumi, both by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. Regarding where to get meat to cure, a quick search on Craigslist or localharvest.org should point you to farmers outside the Detroit area who raise their own meat animals on a small scale. Also, the ethnic markets like you mentioned are wonderful places to get larger cuts of meat. Seek out a traditional butcher (they are rapidly vanishing, but I’m sure there are still a handful in Detroit) and tell them you want to find whole pig legs. But if you’re starting small, things like pork jowls and loins are pretty easy to find even in regular grocery stores. Just remember that the quality of the animal makes a HUGE difference in the final product with charcuterie, since you’re, in essence, concentrating the flavor of the meat. Storebought industrially raised pork will not be nearly as delicious as a heritage breed, like red wattle hogs, raised on acorns and milk! So practice a few times on cheaper industrial meat from the grocery store, and once you’re confident in your skills, it’s worth searching out a small farm that raises heritage hogs. If you have trouble, seek out a Detroit restaurant that does their charcuterie in-house, and ask the chef where he gets his meat so that you can do the same!

  52. Hi Ben. You were my fave contestant in masterchef season 2, which im suprisingly watching now (the episode with the tomatosup and grilled cheese sandwich, you were in bottom 3, but you got through, YAY) I love your hats and also I love cooking amd travelling too, hawaii is really great

  53. So happy I discovered your blog, huge fan of yours, my idol alongside Gordon Ramsay

  54. Happy early birthday!