Originally from Isle of Wight, Ben Cooke discovered his love of cooking at the age of 12 through his beloved Danish grandmother (known fondly by friends and family as Mormor) and her long career in hospitality. When his family’s renowned The Gloster Hotel tragically burned down she began her new role as manager of a local hotel. It was here, during school holidays, Ben would visit and often assist her, taking special delight in the energy and creativity of the kitchens.
Never in any doubt hospitality was the career he was going to pursue; Ben worked his way up formally through college whilst working full time. He trained with classical French and English Chefs and went on to work with Michelin Chefs from around the world including New Zealand and Sweden in various roles, including being a private chef in St Anton & Klosters, and aboard Super Yachts for five years, cooking for Middle Eastern Royalty and an adventurous private owner who avoided the usual Mediterranean destinations opting instead for explorations to the north west passage, Galapagos and other unique destinations across the globe.
Whilst working in these kitchens Ben learned the importance of seasonal and local produce, due to the ever-changing climate and location of his travels which in turn forced him to constantly adapt and reinvent his menus.
Ben has completed stages at many of the UK’s leading Michelin starred restaurants such as Drakes on The Pond, Lucknam Park and, most recently, Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume. His style of cooking combines classical French and British technique with nods to his Scandinavian family favourites, to modern European dishes and Asian influences, inspired by his many trips to Asia.
Always keen to support the industry where he can, Ben has taken part in various events such as co-hosting The Create & Cook children’s cookery competition with Steven Edwards, hosting Observer restaurant critic Jay Rayner’s anticipated book launch, breakfast clubs at Bestival and family cooking events at Camp Bestival.
In 2010 Ben saw his childhood dream realised with the opening of The Little Gloster in Gurnard on the Isle of Wight and shortly after married Holly, who came on board to handle front to house, rooms and events whilst Ben focused on the Kitchen and sourcing of the best quality ingredients available, building life long friendships with many of the restaurants producers and suppliers.
Named after his grandmother’s hotel, The Little Gloster showcased Ben’s varied culinary experience coupled with respect for seasonal and local produce. Framed by stunning panoramic sea views the restaurant also offered guests an option to stay in one of their three Scandi-inspired rooms. Since it opened, The Little Gloster received many coveted accolades including Best Local Restaurant - overall winner - in The Good Food Guide 2020 by Waitrose & Partners, & had a regular presence in international and national press titles.
After a successful ten years on the beautiful site, Ben & his wife Holly decided to leave on high and not renew their lease, looking for a new creative adventure & so The Little Gloster Lille Cabin was born. A creative hub for both Ben and Holly, with stunning countryside views to share their years of experience & passion.
Keep your eyes peeled for their young son Uffa (5 yrs), who already shows a keen interest in the kitchen - taking part in some of their cookery classes. Uffa & his friends were the inspiration behind their popular 'Little Cooks' cookery courses.
A natural born chef & teacher, Ben's enthusiasm and passion for his trade is infectious and will inspire you to grow your repertoire & confidence in the kitchen, whilst also having a lot of fun in the process.