Ben Ford and His Temple of Meat. "Head to Tail" Dining at Ford's Filling Station. Culver City, CA.

The Whole Beast Master, Chef Ben Ford.

My mom used to make me eat everything on my plate before I was allowed to leave the table. And when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING. The fact is she was concerned about all the starving kids in China (It was the '70s). The other fact is she created a monster. To this very day, I crack open my Zankou chicken bones and suck the marrow out of them like a 5th grader inhales a cherry Slurpee inflicting brain freeze on himself.

So I knew I'd feel right at home at Ben Ford's "Head to Tail" dinner at his restaurant Ford's Filling Station — well, I'd feel right at home except without the screaming Chinese mother with the broken English — because Chef Ford promised nothing would go to waste. He strived to use the whole animal in his cooking. Mom would just love him and want to pinch his cheeks.

Chef Ben Ford along with Chef Neal Fraser (Grace, BLD) and San Francisco's Chef Nate Appleman (A16, SPQR) conspired an exciting evening of eating complete with odd cuts and the little used in the meat world. Representin' on the menu were nasty yet tasty bits like lardo, headcheese, random rabbit parts, tongue and cockscomb. All the dishes were (mostly) executed nicely with the exception of the roasted hen in the cockscomb au jus — too dry.

However, what this Deep End Diner was really dying to know was what was on this exotic evening's dessert menu. Would chilled monkey brains be ceremoniously served to every guest? Extra whipped cream on my chimp head, please.

Harrison, you know, Ben's dad, was also present and indulged in this exotic dinner. I asked him (off camera) if chilled monkey brains were going to be brought out for dessert because I was really hankering for some. He just laughed. Very nice guy. I shook his hand and told him how exciting the meal was. He expressed how proud he was of his son Ben. Can't wait to see the new Indiana Jones movie.

This evening is one in a series of lecture dinners hosted at Ford's Filling Station. You can experience most of the lecture and some of the evening's offal offerings in the video below. Find out what Chef Ben Ford really thinks about jellyfish too.

With Ben Ford's "Head to Tail" menu, the odds are definitely in your favor if the odd parts are what you fancy.

Ford's Filling Station
9531 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
ph: 310.202.1470

Mon-Sat: 11am-11pm
Sun: 10am-10pm

Ben Ford's Head to Tail from eric alba on Vimeo.