Ben Coombs is head chef at Rochelle ICA, managing menus for their bar, restaurant and events, having previously worked at Rochelle Canteen from 2011-2013. In between times he worked at The Beagle as sous chef, then stints at The Marksman and Black Axe Mangal finishing as head chef of Le Coq.
Rochelle ICA opened in October 2017 when Arnold & Henderson took over the restaurant, bar and catering within one of London’s most iconic galleries, The Institute of Contemporary Art. Under Ben’s hand they have received rave reviews from Jay Rayner (The Guardian) ‘this food feels right’, Fay Maschler (Evening Standard) ‘ cooking elevated to an art form’ and Tim Hayward (The FT) ‘easily the most thought-provoking dish I’ve eaten in years’ amongst others.
James Ferguson has been a cause célèbre in the culinary circles of Shoreditch and Clerkenwell for the last decade, known for his particular brand of modern British cooking given an eclectic global twist: Scandinavian pickles, Middle Eastern spice, Southern European seasonality.
An executive chef with 16 years of experience in the industry, he has worked with, among others, Angela Hartnett at the Connaught, been head chef at Beagle in Hoxton, and headed the kitchens at Rochelle Canteen.
James is a confident, articulate northerner with partly Greek heritage who grew up helping in the kitchen of his parents’ acclaimed restaurant in Yorkshire, where his mother still makes all the bread daily at the age of 75. James trained as a classical pianist before going back to his true first love, cooking, and he is, by his own admission, an obsessive – passionate about the integrity of making food from scratch, putting the ingredients first and not over-complicating the plate.