Originally aiming for a career in economics, Benjamin Cooper took a year out of his studies to do a culinary apprenticeship. It only took one day in the kitchen to convince him he wanted to be a chef.
From his very early days Cooper worked alongside some of Australia’s most celebrated chefs, including Neil Perry and Kylie Kwong.
Heading to the UK, he first worked with fellow Aussie John Torode as head chef of Terrance Conrad’s Bluebird in Chelsea, then graduated as junior sous chef at John Torode’s Smiths of Smithfield, before spending two years under executive chef Mark Edwards at London’s Nobu. He worked with Australia’s best known Thai chef, David Thompson, at Nahm and also at The Halkin Hotel, the first Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in Europe.
On return to Australia Cooper was appointed head chef at Ezard in Melbourne before moving on to become head chef at Longrain.
In 2011 he became executive chef at Chin Chin, which is famous for Southeast Asian food that packs a punch and has recently expanded to Sydney. Cooper’s passion for authentic techniques, exceptional ingredients and experimenting with flavours and texture combinations has redefined Asian cuisine in Australia and turned Chin Chin into a super success on the Melbourne and Sydney food scenes.