Meet Chef Ben Rubin, Founder of AllSpice Hospitality.
Chef Ben and I have been working together to create perfectly planned parties and menus to my clientele for the past three years. He is hands down one of my favorite people to work with (not only is his food delicious, but he is hilarious!) a rare but great combination in the hospitality industry.
He began to refine his journey into professionally cooking, seven years ago with a 22 month program at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. During his time at the Institute, he completed two externships. The first, working in the kitchen on a Celebrity Cruise Line ship for three months, producing meals for 2,200 people a day! During this time he saw 14 Caribbean countries, worked with staff that represented 86 countries, on a boat of 5,000+ people.
After his time on the ship, Ben went to Atlanta where he worked at one of the top Greek restaurants in the country, Kyma. He spent ten months there and loved every second of it.
Upon completing school, Chef Ben moved to Brazil where he spent a year courting his wife, soaking up the culture, and working in a sushi restaurant. (Quite the variety of experiences)
After Brazil, he landed back in Washington, D.C. where he worked for Blacksalt (one of my favorite restaurants), for two years.
Chef Ben was done working for others and that is when AllSpice Hospitality was born.
Did you prefer catering to restaurants?
"Both have a special place in my heart. One is a very refined practice. The other is a logistical test.
In restaurants, your variable is: how many people are gonna walk through the door today?
In catering, the variable isn’t how many people, it's how are we going to make it for all of these people.
That’s what I found I loved about catering, the logistical aspect. I am a prep junkie – what I love to do is crank out a ton of food, I fell in love with that on the cruise ship. In the food world its called quantity production, similar to what people do in cafeterias in universities, etc. big bulk prep for a lot of people."
WOW, you really are a jack of all trades in hospitality!
"When I started my company, I didn’t want to have an AllSpice Catering because I didn’t want to be locked into a catering category, I love all of the other things too."
What is the biggest challenge in your business?
"The business itself. Doing the business the numbers, the hustle, and the selling aspect. Getting the job. Selling is the hardest part."
How big is your team?
"2 full timers and we contract out when needed."
How do you market your business?
"Facebook, Google ads, online. Word of mouth is the best. Also tried to break into different communities to get the word around: religious organizations, community organizations, etc."
What is your busiest season?
"Fall. the last week in August through second week of November."
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
"Everyone seems to have fun with what we do. The clients, the staff, everyone. I got out of the restaurant game and working for others because a lot of the hospitality world is inhospitable. I make it point that everyone is treated fairly, everyone is happy, and we all get to do what we are passionate about."
Best advice to someone who wants to be a chef?
"Don’t do it. Go become an accountant. For real. Outside of that, I'd say go out and work in the field first. Get experience and decide if it's really something that you want to do. It is not easy. It is not glamorous. And it’s not romantic like it's put up to be."
Chef's Tasting Dinner
While back in DC last week, Chef Ben curated a tasting dinner for myself and twelve friends. It was a fantastic time with wonderful people and even better food. Chef Ben created a beautiful menu that just happened to be gluten free, even without the gluten, the food was fantastic. Thanks again Chef!
(Photos of our meal below)
Chef Ben also recently launched a home meal delivery service!
AllSpice Hospitality Meal Delivery Service (ASH-MDS), is a meal delivery program that brings chef created, fresh - never frozen, dinners directly from our kitchen to yours. Through a 2-week at a time subscription, participants receive a main course protein, starch and vegetable as well as a salad and dressing. Our deliveries take place Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 1pm and 4pm, to client specified addresses, in client specified manner (such as into a refrigerator in the garage, cooler bag door-side, apartment foyer, etc) for convenience. We provide heating instructions, feedback cards, and can adjust our menu items to meet any dietary challenge. Email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
My DC clients and I love working with AllSpice and I know you will too.
To hire Chef Ben:
Inquire on www.allspicehospitality.com and follow him on instagram, @allspicehospitality.