Rising Star Rising Star Chef Ben Hammond of Cochon - Biography
New Orleans, LA
Born and raised in Louisiana, Chef Ben Hammond has studied in New England, worked in New York City's Gramercy Tavern, and staged in southwest France. Which is to say, he's held his own on some serious culinary territory. Finally back on his home turf as chef de cuisine at Cochon, working with Chef-partners Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski, Hammond's proving just how much of his own he can hold.
A 2003 New Orleans Rising Star, Link is an enviable mentor, with deep-rooted New Orleans connections to match Hammond's well-traveled experience. So it's no surprise that while working under Link and Stryjewski at Cochon, Hammond has put together an aptly pig-centric menu of traditional Southern and Cajun dishes done just right—everything from pickled pork tongue to hog jowl on toast to smoked ribs and (for a change of pace) fried alligator. It's the kind of food to soothe a Louisiana soul, done with the kind of skill to rival any other market.
As Hammond makes his mark on NOLA cuisine, working with Link and Stryjewski has certainly made its mark on Hammond. Cochon earned national recognition—including a 2007 James Beard "Best New Restaurant" nomination—giving Hammond local street cred. And his progression at Cochon has allowed the once-itinerant Hammond to reconnect with his Louisiana roots, building relationships with local farms and fishermen and using traditional cooking techniques. With Hammond, a 2012 StarChefs.com Rising Star, now at the helm of this New Orleans favorite, those ties will only grow deeper.